The Elsbree family is headed by father Jim Elsbree, a family practice physician with WellStar Cornerstone Family Medicine in Acworth, and Ruth Elsbree, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and works as an audio book narrator for Audible.com. Their three eldest children of five are actively serving in the Navy and the Air Force.
“We recognize that without the protection afforded by our U.S. military, our country would not have the unprecedented freedoms that we enjoy as U.S. citizens,” Jim Elsbree said. “We consider it a privilege that our children can be part of the 3 percent of Americans who are able and willing to serve in that capacity.”
Kayleen Elsbree, 28, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Berry College, then attended Wake Forest medical school, in North Carolina, on a Navy scholarship. She is a lieutenant, completing her residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and plans to do a “surgery flight residency tour, but we don’t actually do surgery,” she said.
Kayleen Elsbree said she hopes to see different parts of the world and possibly experience “tropical medicine.”
“I joined the military in 2009, while I was between college and medical school,” Kayleen Elsbree said, noting she taught general chemistry, general biology and health at Mount Paran Christian School, the school from which she graduated in 2009.
Part of the reason she considered the military was the expense of medical school, Kayleen Elsbree said, but she said she saw the opportunities her brother was getting to travel for seminars while in ROTC, and that excited her.
“He shows the bearing of an officer and the drive of a leader,” Kayleen Elsbree said of her brother’s career.
“I’ve admired his ability to lead in sports, then in ROTC and now in his position as a junior officer on a submarine.”
Michael Elsbree, 26, of Marietta, graduated from Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw and then from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2010. He was commissioned in December 2012 as an ensign officer in the Navy.
He is currently serving as a communications officer in the Navy aboard USS Henry M. Jackson, where he is responsible for radio equipment as well as the messages traveling on and off the submarine.
“My job is broken down into two parts on the submarine,” he said. “My two main responsibilities are as watch officer and division officer,” noting his responsibility for watching the engine room and his responsibility for safe navigation on the submarine as a division officer.
Michael Elsbree said he was inspired to join the Navy before college partly because of his upbringing in Marietta, with its rich history of Civil War Battles, such as the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
“Marietta was an awesome city to grow up in,” Michael Elsbree said. “I grew up about a mile from Kennesaw Mountain and have many memories of running and hiking that really inspired me to go out and see more.”
He also attributes his interest in the military to his grandfathers, who also inspired Michael’s sisters to join the military.
One grandfather, Michael Miller, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1956, while the other, James P. Elsbree, served as a radar operator who flew a Navy B-17 planes in Korea, which Ruth Elsbree said was rare.
“Although their grandfathers both went on to other careers after their military service, being in the Navy afforded them some of their greatest adventures which they enjoyed sharing with our children,” Jim Elsbree said.
Teresa Elsbree, 22, graduated from the Air Force Academy after completing Air Force junior ROTC in high school.
“She’s always been different,” Michael Elsbree joked about why his younger sister chose the Air Force instead of the Navy.
“We have a lot of respect and love for all our children,” Ruth Elsbree said. “We have always encouraged them to pursue opportunities in line with their personal abilities that would also enable them to support themselves and be contributing members of our community.”
Michael’s younger brother, Stephen, 24, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University and youngest brother, Connor, 21, is majoring in sports management at Kennesaw State University.
The Science Department Chair and Robotics Team Coach at Mount Paran Christian School, Brad Smith, taught Kayleen, Michael and Stephen.
“I don’t know what they put in the water there (in the Elsbree home), but we need to bottle it for the school lunch program,” Smith said, noting the students were all polite, hard-working scholars and athletes.