By Army Spc. Debralee Crankshaw
Special to American Forces Press Service
March 6, 2009 - Iraq seems a lot closer to home for two brothers from New York who are lucky enough to be sent here at the same time. Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Greene, an operations noncommissioned officer in charge with the 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, and his brother, Robert Greene, a database administrator for Science Applications International Corp. and retired soldier, have been able to spend time together while in country.
The brothers, from Ellenville, N.Y., said being here together has made them more appreciative of each other.
"There were years when we didn't have time to get together," Daniel said. "I would say [being here together] brought us a lot closer."
The Greenes try to get together once or twice a week to have coffee or dinner, reminisce about their childhood and talk about their families. They even call home together.
The brothers have not always been able to spend so much time together. When Daniel was 10, Robert joined the Army. After Daniel joined the Army, the brothers rarely saw each other. While the separations have been hard, they said, they can't imagine not having served in the military. For them, it's a lifestyle.
"You grow up from a teenager, and this is mostly what you've done, maybe a couple of odds and ends jobs, but it grows on you," Daniel said. "Always being around a military installation, it's part of your culture, a family tradition."
Being together here has allowed the brothers to provide each other with moral support.
"That's what brothers are for," Robert said. "That's what family is for."
For Daniel, it feels like a vacation when he spends time with his brother. "Just having family around takes you out of Iraq for just that moment," he said.
The brothers said their entire family is close. Their sisters all settled around their mother to take care of her, and the brothers try to plan leave together so the family can be together.
Serving together in Iraq also helps the family worry less about the brothers being in a war zone, they said.
"Mom was a little worried at first, but her knowing we're here to take care of each other is a benefit," Daniel said.
The Greenes know they have something that most people don't and are thankful for one another.
"It's awesome," Daniel said. "It's one thing to have your fellow soldiers and civilians with you, but to have family -- that's special."
(Army Spc. Debralee Crankshaw serves with Multinational Division Center.)