Mom of 3 to spend Mother's Day deployed with daughter


This Mother's Day will be a special one for Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer DeCou, is currently deployed in Japan with her daughter, Senior Airman Jenaka DeCou.

Although the 44-year-old mother of three has been in the U.S. Air Force for the past 26 years, it's the first time she is serving on deployment alongside her 21-year-old daughter, who followed her mom's footsteps into the military.

PHOTO:  Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer DeCou, 44, and her daughter, Senior Airman Jenaka DeCou, 21, both serve in the Air National Guard and are currently deployed together in Japan.
Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer DeCou, 44, and her daughter, Senior Airman Jen...
Courtesy of Amy Bailey

The DeCous come from a military family, and Jennifer DeCou said her grandfathers, who served in the Army and Air Force, inspired her to enlist.

"I was very close with both of them. And they were a big influence on why I decided to join," Jennifer DeCou told "Good Morning America."

Jennifer DeCou's grandfather John Roe served in the 114th Fighter Wing of the South Dakota Air National Guard. When Jenaka DeCou decided to enlist three years ago, she said she signed up at the logistics building at Joe Foss Field -- the same one her great-grandfather had worked in.

"Hearing my mom talk about her deployments that she had been on just seemed like a really amazing and unique experience," Jenaka DeCou said of her decision to enlist. "It was something that I've always kind of been interested in and then also going out to the base and just seeing her work and [seeing] the people that are working with her, I just really fell kind of in love with the environment and the people that were there as well."

PHOTO: Senior Airman Jenaka DeCou said she grew up hearing stories from her mom, Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer DeCou and always had an interest in joining the military.

Today, the mother-daughter duo say they're grateful for the "unique opportunity" to not only serve but to deploy together to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

They said they are planning to go for a hike and see a waterfall for Mother's Day and also hope to line up a phone call to connect with the rest of the DeCou family back home in South Dakota.

"A lot of people don't really get to have family members on these deployments, so having her be here, especially for my first deployment, it has been a really, really great blessing," said Jenaka DeCou, who calls her mom her "best friend."

She added, "On those harder days, especially with the big time difference from back home, it's really nice to have her here and just have somebody that you feel comfortable in and can always run to and talk to."

PHOTO: Senior Airman Jenaka DeCou is on her first deployment, alongside her mom Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer DeCou, who has been in the U.S. Air Force for the past 26 years.

Jennifer DeCou has been deployed previously to Iraq but said this time, it's even more memorable and "quite the honor."

"It's not something that I actually thought we'd be able to do together. So, it's been really great just to watch her and kind of sit back and watch her pave her own path and make her own name," the proud mom said.

PHOTO: Senior Airman Jenaka DeCou said it has been “a really, really great blessing” to be deployed together with her mother, Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer DeCou.

"We're surrounded by people that do every job at every spectrum of the military and serve in all ranks. And so, I just always encourage young women to enlist if they think it's something that they're interested in … It's definitely something that they can do," Jennifer DeCou said.

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