Double your pleasure
October 15, 2007
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSERITY, Iraq - Deployments usually separate family members from one another. Yet, for twin, 1st Cavalry Division brothers, being in Iraq is as close to being home as anything they've come to know since they started their military careers.
"This is the closest thing to home for us," said Capt. Richard Gomez, a 1st Cav. Div. construction operations officer at Camp Liberty west of Baghdad. "We talk every day."
The fraternal twins, Richard and Daniel, both Army captains, grew up in Woodside, Queens, N.Y., where they attended Francis Louis High School's Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps together.
"Well, I started there first, and then Danny copied me," Richard teased.
During high school, the two decided to strive for ROTC scholarships to Hofstra University, Long Island, N.Y. During their time in college, they witnessed the World Trade Center collapse and knew exactly how they would spend their time in the Army.
"We were wearing our uniforms that day," Richard recalled. "I pulled [Daniel] out of class and went to the top of the building."
Daniel, who is serves as a brigade military transition team operations officer on the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div., said after knowing what happened, they both just wanted to go where ever the country asked them to go.
After they were both commissioned and completed their respective officer basic courses, the country asked Richard to go to Korea, and Daniel to go to 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery where he served as a targeting officer for 2nd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, then with 2nd Brigade, 1st Cav. Div.
Upon Richard's completion of tour in Korea, he came to 1st Cav. Div. and they knew they would deploy together.
"Our parents were both scared," Daniel said of his parents Jose Gomez and Rafaela Martinez, who still reside in Queens, N.Y. "They understand what we do. They support us. They know we love it, and are really proud of us."
Richard's duties allow him to travel throughout the 1st Cav. Div.'s entire footprint of operations. As Daniel's unit's area of operations is within them, they have been able to spend some brief time together. While Richard comes around FOB Prosperity for environmental studies, Daniel travels with his Military Transition Team for Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces meetings.
For Richard, the deployment means that he has his "best friend" here.
Though they are fraternal twins, the two cannot be mistaken for anything else but brothers. Although Richard is four inches taller, he joked that Daniel is four inches wider.
"We locked him in a closet when he was a kid," said Richard when asked why Daniel was shorter.
As if the response had been rehearsed for years, Daniel said, "Yeah, all they fed me was pizza and pancakes because that's all they could fit under the door."
Although the two started their careers together, Richard admits that he has plans to transition into the private sector while Daniel is going to his captain's career course as a Civil Affairs officer and stay in the Army a little bit longer.