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NEWS | May 9, 2022

First in the family to become an American and a U.S. Soldier

By Sgt. John W. Todd 314th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

When it comes to family firsts, this Soldier understands he is carrying the torch.

Meet U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Christian Lance Relleve, the staff section officer in charge of the 453rd Chemical Battalion based in Bell, California. Relleve has been in the U.S. Army for approximately three and a half years.

A Philippines native, Relleve immigrated to the United States when he was about seven years old. Sometime that same year, he went to Guam, then headed back to the Philippines. At the age of 13, he migrated back to the United States, to California, staying there.

“I decided to get my education first,” said Relleve. “I kind of put joining the whole military thing on the back burner for a while until I graduated from the University of Southern California - then my grandfather passed away.”

He credits his grandfather, a colonel in the Philippine army for 20 years, as his inspiration for where he is in life today.

“I never had personal reasons for joining the military until my grandfather passed away,” said Relleve. “That is, until about three or four years ago.”

That life event was the catalyst for his military career. After realizing his grandfather’s legacy, Relleve wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“After he died, maybe two or three days later, I went to the recruiter's office and applied for OCS right off the bat,” said Relleve. “After I graduated from college, I went to basic training, then OCS and now I'm here.”

Relleve said choosing the U.S. Army Reserve was the right choice, as the organization believes in diversity and acceptance of different cultures.

“I think my heritage as an Asian Pacific Islander is actually super important,” said Relleve. “It’s pretty amazing working with a diverse set of people or Soldiers and trying to achieve mission success.”

As a relatively new chemical officer, Relleve was impressed by the caliber of commitment to duty and the level of professionalism in his Soldiers.

“I like being around Soldiers, especially the ones who have diverse backgrounds accomplishing goals,” said Relleve. “Working together to achieve a common mission is phenomenal.”