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Two sets of sisters graduate together from Marine Corps training

The five women graduated last week in South Carolina.
Credit: Sgt. Dana Beesley/DVIDS
Courtesy: Sgt. Dana Beesley/DVIDS

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. — "Sisters by blood, now sisters-in-arms." That's how the Department of Defense described two sets of sisters who just graduated from recruit training in the Marine Corps. 

Ashely and Amber Valentine, along with Maria, Vanessa and Melissa Placido Jaramillo were among the latest graduating class from Parris Island, according to a Facebook post from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. 

Ashley Valentine, 19, says she made a promise to her grandfather three days before he died to carry on his legacy by serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. She chose the Marine Corps, and her 22-year-old sister Amber joined her. 

“After talking with the recruiter about how it would impact my life, I was committed,” Amber said. “I was ready to go no matter what.” 

The sisters, who hail from Manassas, Va., said having each other during recruit training helped them through their highs and lows. 

“I went through a moment during first phase where I received some bad news in a letter, and she was there to be a shoulder for me to lean on,” Amber said. 

The Parris Island Recruit Depot says the sisters won't be able to go to combat training together because Ashley fractured her hip prior to graduation and needs time to heal. After both eventually complete combat training, the DoD says Amber will be in the communications field, and Ashely will be certified as a motor transportation operator. 

“I know she’s going to be ok,” Ashley said of her sister. “She’s always been independent, and I know she’s going to succeed in her career.” 

Sisters Maria, Vanessa and Melissa Placido Jaramillo were born in Panama and moved to Las Vegas when they were young. The three made a pact to join the military. 

Maria, 21, and identical twins Vanessa and Melissa, 22, joined the ROTC program. Maria said she joined the Corps to "honor her family and give back to the country who gave her so much." After that, they attended recruit training at Parris Island. Melissa told the recruit depot "friendly competition and daily positive affirmation" kept their relationship strong. 

“When one of us is lacking and the other is strong in that area, we always push each other to become to best we can be,” Melissa said.  

“We have an unbreakable bond,” Maria said. “We are always together, but we know how to live separately. I know that my sisters will always be there for me, even when they are not physically with me.”  

The three sisters have not yet been assigned their military occupational specialty (MOS), but say they are looking forward to what's next for them in the Marine Corps. 

All three will become naturalized American citizens, according to the recruit depot. 

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