Family Becomes First To Graduate Four Sisters From USAF Academy
(May 31, 2011)
|U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS - 5/25/2011) -- Many
graduates speak of the lifelong bonds they make with
classmates during their four years at the Air Force Academy.
For the Robillard family, the shared challenges, failures
and triumphs of the Academy experience made a close-knit
group of four sisters that much closer.
The Robillard sisters became the first family to have four sisters graduate from the institution May 25, 2011, in Colorado Springs, Colo. They are, from left, Amanda and Alicia, Class of 2011; Nicole, Class of 2009; and Lauren, Class of 2007. U.S. Air Force photo
by Megan Davis
Twins Alicia and Amanda Robillard graduated May 25, making the
Robillards the first family to graduate four sisters from the
"As anyone who attended the Academy can attest to,
there is just that language and shared experience that all grads
have in common, and being able to share that with all my sisters has
really kept our bond strong," said Lauren Robillard, a Class of 2007
graduate and the eldest sister of the family. "I would even venture
to say that by having all attended the Academy, we are closer than
we otherwise would have been."
When Nicole, a Class of 2009
graduate, and Alicia and Amanda decided to attend the Academy, the
sisters said they didn't consider it a decision to simply follow
their older sister's lead. The Bristol, Conn., natives also said it
wasn't something they were pressured into for tradition's sake.
"While (my sisters) and my parents were sure to not make Amanda
and I feel forced in any way,
the fact that they were here opened us up to the opportunities and
experiences that I would have not been aware of," Alicia said. "In a
sense, you could say it is like choosing the same college as your
best friend, especially for Amanda and me."
"I went to college, and it just turned out that we all
decided to go to the same college," added Lauren, who is now
a helicopter pilot stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base,
The younger three sisters agreed that entering
the Academy with an older sister who was a current cadet had
advantages beyond being a familiar face from home. Most
notable on the list was almost unlimited access to a car
during the first two years when cadets are not allowed to
have their own vehicles.
"I didn't have to show up
to a place where I didn't know anyone like many of my
classmates," Amanda said. "I felt, and still feel today,
like the luckiest girl, not only to have had an older sister
at the Academy to show me the ropes, but also to have a twin
sister who was going through the same things I was. Knowing
Alicia was experiencing those things through Basic (Cadet
Training) and a four-year degree was helpful and a constant
motivation for me to do well."
One thing the older
two were adamant about was allowing each sister to
experience the Academy in her own way. Nicole, now an
airfield operations officer at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.,
explained that Lauren gave her only two tips prior to
inprocessing at the Academy: don't freak out the first
morning of BCT when the cadre delivers the first wake-up
call, and don't hyperventilate when the cadre pushes sand at
cadets while low crawling through the tunnels of the assault
course; just keep pushing it out.
"She wanted me to
experience it on my own, which I came to appreciate, and a
couple (of) years down the road, when the twins decided to
come, I did the same thing to them and told them the same
two things Lauren told me," Nicole said.
did their older sisters not spoil the experience for them,
the twins said, the elder Robillard siblings challenged them
to make the most of their time at the Academy.
guarantee it pushed me a great deal harder through basic
when I knew my older sister was a cadre, and freshmen year
because I wanted my sisters to hear that I was doing well so
they could be proud of me," said Alicia, who will attend
pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., with her
twin sister following graduation. "They always did a great
job of pushing us to do the best and not doubt what we are
Through that challenge, the Robillards
distinguished themselves by the leadership role each sister
attained in the Cadet Wing. Three of the four sisters served
as cadet squadron commanders, the highest-ranking cadet and
leader of their approximately 110-person squadron, while
Amanda served as Cadet Group 4 commander, leading 10 cadet
squadrons and a 20-person staff.
Although not from a
military background, all the graduates attributed their
family's success to their parents, Robert and Lenore
Robillard, whom they describe as avid military supporters.
"I owe everything I am and that I have accomplished to
my family," Amanda explained. "From the way I was raised by
my parents to having the opportunity to watch my sisters as
I grew up, (I learned) what hard work will get you. My mom
and dad have loved and supported me day in and day out and
are always proud as long as they see me happy and working
All the love, support and advice aside, what
does the foursome think is the best perk of having all their
sisters go the Academy?
"It makes conversations way
easier when you don't have to define acronyms!" Lauren said.
"Our poor parents have been struggling to keep up with that
By USAF 2nd Lt. Meredith Kirchoff
Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Air Force News
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