A family tradition of military service


By Paul Butler - For the News Journal



Lt. Col.Katherine Arvai Cherolis, right, administers the Oath of Enlistment to her niece Kennedy Arvai, center, as Kennedy’s grandfather - retired U.S. Army Maj. John Arvai Jr. - watches.

Lt. Col.Katherine Arvai Cherolis, right, administers the Oath of Enlistment to her niece Kennedy Arvai, center, as Kennedy’s grandfather - retired U.S. Army Maj. John Arvai Jr. - watches.


Photos courtesy of Paul Butler

Katherine Cherolis, right, hugs her niece Kennedy Arvai while grandfather John Arvai applauds.


Photos courtesy of Paul Butler

There is a history of military service in the Arvai family, and Kennedy Marie Arvai continued that family tradition on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Kennedy became the first of the fourth generation of Arvais to raise her right hand and “….solemnly swear to defend the constitution of “The United States of America” against all enemies……”

The father-in-law of the Arvai family patriarch, John Murphy, was the first to exemplify service to country. According to the news release, Murphy used someone else’s name and lied about his age in order to enter the service during WWI, then lied again about his age in order to get in the service during WWII.

John Arvai Sr. joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, then a couple years later Mr. Arvai became a Pearl Harbor survivor. Shortly thereafter, he joined the submarine corps, where he served for the duration of WWII. Most of his time was aboard the USS Salmon. The crew of the submarine served with distinction in battle, especially John Sr., earning him the Navy Marine Corps Medal. He retired from the Navy as a chief electricians mate.

In this family, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Both sons, John Jr. and Joe, like their father, made a career of the military. John was highly decorated, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Army Medivac Helicopter pilot in Vietnam and retired as a major after 20 years of service. Joe was also a pilot, but in the Air Force, flying both rotary wing (helicopter) and fixed wing aircraft. Colonel Joseph Arvai, closed out his 30 years of service as a Test Pilot at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River Md. In 2015 John Jr. was inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor. John graduated from WHS in 1967 and Joe in 1972, John Jr. and wife Connie, deceased, had three children, Katherine, John III and Mary, all of whom served or are serving in uniform. John III, father of Kennedy, served in the Army National Guard from 1993- 1999. Then, after graduation from “The Ohio State University” became a Technical Solutions Engineer for J P Morgan, in Columbus. John III graduated from WHS in 1994. Kennedy’s mother, Michelle, is a Nurse Practitioner at Central Ohio Primary Care.

Mary Arvai did two tours in the Air National Guard. While serving her 2nd tour, Mary went to Law School at Capital University, graduating at the top her class. She is now happily married and is an Attorney for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. She graduated from WHS in 1996.

The senior, Arvai Jr. offspring, Katherine, is still in the Air National Guard. Lt. Colonel Katherine Arvai Cherolis, mother of two beautiful daughters and wife of retired Air National Guard Fighter Pilot and current Delta Airlines Pilot, Brian, is the Executive Officer of the 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo. Katherine was in the WHS Class of 1993. Both Katherine and Brian got their Bachelor’s Degree from “The Ohio State University” and Katherine received her Masters from Wright State University.

The family’s 105 years of service to the United States of America was not lost on Lt. Colonel (Aunt) Katherine Arvai Cherolis as she hugged her niece, Kennedy, after administering the Oath of Enlistment into the Air National Guard.

Even though she has a solid foundation, fourth generation Kennedy, does not lack for examples of service, sacrifice and success. She is a 17 year old high school senior and a Scholar Athlete. For the past 2 years she has played Varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse. She was voted “Offensive Player of the Year” and received an All League Honorable Mention for her play in Field Hockey.

Kennedy will head for basic training at the end of May and complete most of her training before her 18th birthday on Sept. 24. As she meets her obligation with the Guard, Kennedy plans to attend Ohio University.

Lt. Col.Katherine Arvai Cherolis, right, administers the Oath of Enlistment to her niece Kennedy Arvai, center, as Kennedy’s grandfather – retired U.S. Army Maj. John Arvai Jr. – watches.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2023/01/web1_KENNEDY-PIC-1.jpgLt. Col.Katherine Arvai Cherolis, right, administers the Oath of Enlistment to her niece Kennedy Arvai, center, as Kennedy’s grandfather – retired U.S. Army Maj. John Arvai Jr. – watches. Photos courtesy of Paul Butler

Katherine Cherolis, right, hugs her niece Kennedy Arvai while grandfather John Arvai applauds.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2023/01/web1_KENNEDY-PIC-2.jpgKatherine Cherolis, right, hugs her niece Kennedy Arvai while grandfather John Arvai applauds. Photos courtesy of Paul Butler

By Paul Butler

For the News Journal