Naval Legacy: Seaman continues family tradition

HARLINGEN — Last year Joseph Tello couldn’t carry on a conversation about the Navy with his father.

He didn’t know about its history and customs.

But all that has changed.

Joseph has taken a rite of passage for Tello men and recently became a fourth-generation Navy seaman.

Joseph said now he knows what his father is talking about, and he knows what he’s talking about when they are discussing the Navy.

“It was in the blood, and my son got a double dose with his grandfather and great-grandfather being in the Navy,” said Gil Tello, Joseph’s father. “I think it was something he needed to do.”

During Joseph’s visit home for the holidays after boot camp, his mother noticed the excitement Joseph and his father had talking about Navy history and terminology.

“He wanted to serve and he wanted to serve now,” Gil said. “He has a sense of pride in continuing the tradition, and we are very proud of him for that.”

His great-grandfathers were in the military during World War II, one of them in the Navy. His grandfather served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and his father served in the Navy during Desert Storm.

“It’s going good so far,” Joseph, an E-3 Navy seaman, said over the phone. “And one of the reasons that I joined was to be fourth generation in the Navy.”

Joseph is currently training to be a master at arms for the U.S. Navy.

And he plans to take his skills to Japan where he will be stationed once his training is complete.

Joseph also has been practicing shooting different kinds of weapons at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Part of his training consists of getting used to firing a hand gun, shotgun and assault riffle.

“I didn’t pressure him to join the military,” Gil said. “My father didn’t force me to join, either.”

After finishing high school, Joseph attended college and worked in education and later as a sports writer for the daily newspaper.

It was during his short stint at the paper that he made the decision to join the armed forces to serve his country and continue a family legacy.

“It has definitely strengthened our bond,” Joseph said about his relationship with his father. “Now I can relate my Navy experience with my Dad.”

The Tradition

– Donaciano Cortez great-grandfather Army, WWII

– Fausto Montalvo great-grandfather Navy, WWII

– Ely Cortez Grandfather Navy, Korea War

– Nieves Tello, grandfather Navy, retired WWII & Korea War

– Gil Tello, father Navy, supply officer Desert Storm

– Joseph Tello Navy, E-3 Seaman