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Mideast edition, Thursday, May 31, 2007

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — One family, one last name, five siblings and three Air Force majors.

After spending 142 days in Iraq, Maj. Steven Coy, the operations officer for 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Misawa, took leave en route to Japan to attend his younger sister’s pinning ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Flying from Europe for the event was an older sister, Maj. Angernette Coy, chief of protocol for European Command at Stuttgart, Germany.

They weren’t about to miss welcoming a third field grade officer into the family: Cynthia Coy, a budget analyst for Air Combat Command headquarters at Langley, pinned on the rank of major on April 30.

The Coy siblings — there’s another sister and a brother who aren’t active-duty — don’t know whether they’ve achieved an Air Force first with Cynthia’s promotion. But they’ve been told it’s an uncommon feat.

“The O-6 officiating at the ceremony said it’s very rare to see just siblings in general all at the field grade rank and all on active duty,” Steven Coy said. “But to have three in one family, in her almost 30-year career, she said she never witnessed that before.”

The three Maj. Coys followed in their father’s footsteps. Richmond Coy retired as a master sergeant after 26 years in the Air Force. Angernette, 36, Steven, 34, and Cynthia, 31, said they enjoyed the Air Force life afforded to dependents, with fond memories of time spent overseas, including in Athens, Greece, and Berlin.

“So I joined the Air Force to see the world,” Angernette said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “I love the regular PCS moves and the quality of life the Air Force provides.”

As adults, the Coy siblings have never been assigned to the same base, but they always seem to meet people who know or have served with a Coy.

“That happens all the time,” Steven said. “We’ll get e-mails, we’ll get calls (from our siblings) — ‘Hey, I ran into so-and-so. They said they knew you from a previous assignment.’ It makes the Air Force even smaller.”

The Coys also enjoy a bit of fun with their shared title.

“When I call their offices, it’s a bit amusing saying, ‘Hi, this is Major Coy, I’d like to speak to Major Coy,’” Angernette wrote. “The reaction on the other end can be interesting.”

Steven said having two siblings on active duty has its professional perks. If he needs advice about protocol or finance issues, his sisters are a phone call away.

But when they get together as a family in San Antonio, they rarely talk shop, he said.

“We come from a very close family,” he said. “Most of our times together, we spend just laughing and joking, talking about our lives growing up, about the family.”

Cynthia attributes the siblings’ success to their parents.

“They sacrificed so much for us while we were growing up,” she said in an e-mail. While she still thinks of Angernette and Steven as “just my big sister and my big brother … it is such a historical moment when you think about it,” she said of the shared rank. “We are truly blessed.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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