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Airman looks to sister for re-enlistment ceremony

U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicole Tripputi, a contract negotiator with the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, gives the oath of enlistment to her sister, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Stem, 88th Aerospace medicine squadron ophthalmic technician, during a re-enlistment ceremony June 19 inside the auditorium of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The two have been stationed together at WPAFB for the first time since August 2016.(U.S. Air Force photos/Michelle Gigante)

Capt. Nicole Tripputi, a contract negotiator with the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, gives the oath of enlistment to her sister, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Stem, an 88th Aerospace medicine squadron ophthalmic technician, during a re-enlistment ceremony June 19, 2017, inside the auditorium of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The two have been stationed together at Wright-Patterson AFB for the first time since August 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicole Tripputi, a contract negotiator with the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, smiles with her sister, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Stem, 88th Aerospace medicine squadron ophthalmic technician, during a re-enlistment ceremony June 19 inside the auditorium of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The sisters have been stationed together, for the first time, since August, and look so similar that people have often mistaken one for the other. (U.S.Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

Capt. Nicole Tripputi, a contract negotiator with the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, smiles with her sister, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Stem, an 88th Aerospace medicine squadron ophthalmic technician, during a re-enlistment ceremony June 19, 2017, inside the auditorium of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The sisters have been stationed together, for the first time, since August 2016, and look so similar that people have often mistaken one for the other. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michelle Gigante)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- An ophthalmic technician in the 88th Medical Group didn’t choose to be sworn in by her unit commander when she was ready to re-enlist. Instead, she turned to a family member – her younger sister.

The re-enlistment ceremony for Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Stem was held June 19, 2017, in the auditorium of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center, with Capt. Nicole Tripputi, a contract negotiator with the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Big Safari, doing the honors.

“What better person than your sister to re-enlist you?” Stem said.

“Being prior enlisted, I understand what this oath means, and it is a privilege to be able to administer it now to my older sister,” Tripputi said.

Stem entered the Air Force in 1999, with Tripputi following two years later. The sisters have been stationed together, for the first time, since August 2016, and look so similar that people have often mistaken one for the other. They’ve enjoyed workday lunches and having the chance to spend weekends and holidays together for the first time in more than 18 years.

“How often do military siblings have the opportunity to be stationed together, much less to live five minutes down the street?” Tripputi said.

Unfortunately, their time together is short-lived as Stem will undergo a permanent change of station to Yokota Air Base, Japan, in August 2017, with her husband, Master Sgt. Kevin Stem. He is an asset manager with the 88th Communications Squadron.

A third sister, 2nd Lt. Katherine Little, an acquisitions officer, from Creech AFB, Nevada, is coming to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base July 15 for three weeks for technical training, and the trio plans to make the most of it. Little also is prior enlisted.

Serving in the nation’s Air Force comes naturally to the sisters, as both parents served, with their father retiring as a master sergeant. Two remaining sisters are married to Airmen, one a retired senior master sergeant living near Vandenberg AFB, California, and the other a technical sergeant stationed at Hill AFB, Utah.

“All five of us were (Air Force) brats, and we love the lifestyle. Our dad never complained about it and made it sound like an awesome thing to do,” Stem said.

“I wanted to do everything she did,” Tripputi countered. “She’s the older sister and she sets the bar. There are so many things I have strived to do that she has done first. I really do love her, I admire her and I want to be like her. She is always selfless, humble and positive.

“I may outrank her, but she’s a far better Airman than I’ll ever be,” Tripputi said of her sister shortly before administering the oath.

In her closing remarks, Stem said her sister is “an amazing officer and an amazing individual, and I’m really happy that she got to re-enlist me. What better person than your sister to re-enlist you?"

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