It's a little unusual to see a 39-year-old become an Army private but recruiters say it's even more unusual to have a mother and daughter enlist together.
Megan Schlotthauer is a senior at American High School in Fremont. The cheerleader heads to Fort Jackson, South Carolina next summer after she graduates. Altoon heads to Basic Training this week and won't see Schlotthauer until after Christmas.
Schlotthauer said she joined the Army because, "I want to be part of the country that protects the people."
When her mother told her she also enlisted, all Schlotthauer could think of to say was, "Are you serious?"
So, why would this mom follow in her daughter's footsteps?
"It had a lot to do with Megan and feeling like I wanted to remain close to her as much as possible and look out for her," Altoon said.
Local recruiters tell them they've never seen a mother-daughter team join the Army together.
After Basic Training, they'll both return to the Bay Area and join the same reserve unit in Mountain View. But there's still a chance they could be sent to the Middle East.
"If I'm meant to go over there -- to Iraq or Afghanistan -- then I'm meant to go. It's what God wanted. But it's definitely scary for me," Schlotthauer said.
Paid college tuition, computer skills and personal growth outweighed the cons of joining the Army, say the mother-daughter team. But Schlotthauer now sees an unexpected benefit.
"With her by my side," the high-schooler said, "We are guaranteed a stronger relationship between us."