Specialist Kevin Fitzgerald (right), HHC, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, repeats his oath of re-enlistment by his brother, Capt. Brendan Fitzgerald (left), commander of Troop C, 3/73 Cav., at FOB Sykes in northern Iraq, Jan. 8.

<b>FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq - </b> U.S. Soldiers spend a lot of time together. After training side-by-side in preparation for deployment, they pack their belongings and leave as a group to bring safety and security to a foreign land.

Once these Soldiers reach their destination, they eat, sleep and work beside each other. These warriors spend so much time together that they form a bond similar to that of siblings.

Although the Army's close-knit, Family-like nature helps fill a Soldiers' void created by being away from biological Family Members, most agree there's nothing quite like the real thing.

Two Task Force Marne Soldiers, currently deployed to northern Iraq, got an opportunity, Jan. 8, to experience the best of both worlds - the love and support of their battle buddies, as well as a rare moment to be with a Family Member while deployed.

Captain Brendan Fitzgerald, commander of Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment; and his younger brother, Spc. Kevin Fitzgerald, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division; united at Forward Operating Base Sykes in Tal Afar, Iraq, where both Soldiers were recognized for reaching milestones in their respective military careers.

The elder Fitzgerald brother was appointed troop commander, while the younger brother re-enlisted, choosing his brother to administer his re-enlistment oath.

The Fitzgerald brothers said their chain of command was very helpful in coordinating this important day.

"We're not in the same unit, or on the same FOB, but once I let some of the higher-ups know he wanted to re-enlist, and Kevin wanted me to be there for him, it was amazing how quickly they made it happen," Capt. Fitzgerald said.

The opportunity, according to Spc. Fitzgerald, was priceless.

"I was anxious to re-enlist, and I really wanted him to be a part of it," said Spc. Fitzgerald. "It was so cool that it was able to happen. Just getting to see him was a gift, but his being an actual part of my re-enlistment made the whole thing even better.

"It's tough being away from home. Besides seeing my wife and kid, this is all I could have hoped for."

Captain Fitzgerald said being able to enjoy the company of his younger brother, even in a combat zone, and to have him witness his change of command was truly an honor.

"Today was a really exciting day for me because I got the opportunity not only to take command of this hard-working troop, but my brother was here to share the moment with me," said Capt. Fitzgerald. "We're a military-driven Family; there are four of us serving in the Army now, so today was big for us. Kevin and I even got a chance to talk to our parents over the Internet. They were just as excited as we were."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16