"His father and I, his grandfather and both aunts have served in the military," John's mother Paula Kreilein said with a big smile on her face. "John has always wanted to be in the military. I'm very proud of him, our whole family is proud. He's accomplished so much in his life."
Although life changed their plans to join the military, John's sister Cynthia Chambers and his brother James Goodpasture are also proud.
"John is very proud of his country and has always wanted to be in the military. Nothing would stop him," Goodpasture said. "Many times he has said that he would rather lose his life while defending his country than to see it go down. John could be very blunt about his opinions. He has no problem showing or saying how he feels."
Originally wanting to join the Marines, Paula said John changed his mind when he was unable to join at age 17.
"The Marines required that he must be a senior in school when enlisting at that age, but he wasn't, so he joined the Army as an infantry gunner," Paula said. "John wants to be a career soldier. He plans on staying in the service for 25 years, retiring and then becoming a welder until he retires finally."
Paula said her son was excited to be a part of 151st Infantry stationed in Linton.
"John was really taken with the history of the group," she said. "He's very proud of his unit."
John was with his unit at the massive farewell ceremony for National Guard military personnel at the Indianapolis RCA Dome on Jan. 2. Paula was also there to see half the football field covered in soldiers listening to the guest speakers, which included Congressmen Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, Mark Souder, Mike Pence, Steve Buyer and Dan Burton, Sen. Richard Lugar and Gov. Mitch Daniels.
"It was a very moving ceremony," Paula said, adding that she knew John was most excited by Indianapolis Colts' Team President Bill Polian's visit with the soldiers.
"John is a big Colts' fan," she said. "He was really excited about the commemorative T-shirts the soldiers received as parting gifts from the team."
Volunteering for two tours of duty in Iraq, Paula said John expects to be in Iraq for three years. Although a large portion of the Kreilein family is moving to South Carolina, according to Paula, when John's tour is done in Iraq, he plans on returning to Indiana to be near his grandparents Rev. James Paul and Wilma Mayfield.
"We are very proud that John is willing to go into the service to help keep our freedoms," Wilma said via e-mail from her home in Mitchell, Ind. "I think we need to give our service personal our support."
John's absence is going to be tough but Paula supports her son's decision.
"I wish John was home, but I know what he's doing is right. I wouldn't try to stop him from what he really wants to do," Paula said. "People, especially parents of soldiers, have to be proud of someone who is willing to fight for the life that we take for granted. They risk their lives for freedoms that we have everyday."
Paula said people need to consider what it means to be a soldier, what their life is like before passing judgment.
"Remember, they are doing what they believe in," she said. "Soldiers should be supported no matter what. People should keep all military personnel, not just John, in their thoughts and prayers, so they will all safely come home soon."