By Army Sgt. Sinthia Rosario
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2013 – As children, twin brothers normally do everything together, sharing each other’s dreams and planning what they want to be when they grow up. Some slowly grow apart as adults, while others maintain their strong brotherly bond.
The identical twin brothers from Kenosha, Wis., grew up playing the same sports, went to the same college, and now are both deployed here.
“It’s like we decided to go ahead and do it through our ROTC first,” Matthew said. “We wanted to get a college education and then go ahead and serve. That was probably one of the motivating factors -- to do something together.
“I couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be more content, and more inspired to work with this great team that I’m part of and he’s part of,” he continued, “so it’s kind of like working for the same organization, which is the Army as a whole.”
As they sat talking about the choices they have made, Mark reminisced about the month they both went on active duty.
“I remember that very month, when both of us went on active duty July 4, 2009,” he said. “That weekend prior, we said our goodbyes to the families and we had a pre-Fourth of July celebration.”
Their military orders took them to Fort Sill, Okla., for the Basic Officer Leaders Course. They both were stationed there during that time, though they knew they eventually would go to their separate branch schools.
In the beginning, the twins said, they were a bit hesitant about joining the service, and thoughts of being separated caused a bit of anxiety. But, they added, they knew they would be all right in the long run.
“It was difficult, it was challenging, but I’m sure every soldier goes through the same thing. … But eventually you cope. You learn to use the shared media, Facebook, Skype, etc.,” Matthew said.
“You quickly adapt and just overcome any feelings of separation and anxiety,” Mark said, “so that passed after a few months.”
As children, the brothers played baseball together. Mark earned most valuable player honors as a pitcher, and Matthew was a home run hitter.
“We’re mirror twins -- I’m left handed, and he’s right handed,” Mark said. “That’s our major difference between each other physically. I’ve always been a little better of a pitcher. His strong suit is soccer. He’s always been better at soccer than I was.”
The brothers noted that although they are not from a military background, they have a supportive family. Their mother worries, they acknowledged, but they added that know she supports them and is proud of their service.
“Our family is very patriotic, very proud, and very supportive, and [Mark’s] wife is very involved -- as well as my mother, father and our family -- in supporting the troops and sending care packages,” Matthew said.
The brothers admitted they walked into the military lifestyle without fully knowing what was ahead of them. Mark said their views have changed entirely since joining the Army.
“After a couple of years, [when] you go back to your hometown, you don’t feel the same. You’re forever changed by the training, by the new experiences, by the new people you meet, the people that you work with,” Mark said.
And he likes the way things have played out. “To be with my twin brother here in Afghanistan, serving in the Army, serving the country that I love, it can’t get any better than that,” he said