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Arizona National Guardsman inspired by grandfather and great-grandfather to serve

As Sergeant Mykaela Martin stood for her first deployment ceremony - her grandfather looked on with pride.

PHOENIX — Mykaela Martin proudly stood with her fellow Arizona Army National Guard members during the February deployment ceremony held at the National Guard Base in Phoenix.

The unit is headed off to Europe for a 10-month deployment. This will be Sergeant Mykaela Martin's first deployment.

Among those in attendance – her grandfather watching with pride.

"I'm extremely excited for Mykaela to going on this deployment," said Retired Command Sergeant Major Virgil Macklin.

"He's been there for all my promotions and graduation and now my first deployment," said Sergeant Mykaela Martin.

Military service runs three generations deep in this family.

Retired Command Sergeant Major- Virgil Macklin served 37 years – first in the army and then in the national guard.

"I was always inspired by my grandfather's stories and how the military had influenced and impacted his life in a phenomenally great way," said Martin.

Macklin, in turn, was inspired by his father, Petty Officer First Class Wardell Stephens, Mikaela’s 92-year-old great-grandfather, who was a trailblazer in the navy.

"He was a diver in the Navy. One of the first African American divers. My grandmother would read me stories when he sent letters home. She would read me the letters. I would get inspired by that," said Macklin.

The two have always been close but now they have even more in common.

"My family always teases, like every time we get together; we talk shop. They're like, 'You guys speak a language we do not understand," said Martin. "He can give me his grandfather's advice, but he can also give me his command sergeant's advice. It's very nice."

Now Sergeant Mykaela Martin is carrying on three generations of service.        
"It's surreal to see her in uniform as I was for over 30 years," said Macklin.

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