Deployment, mission change bring brothers together at Camp Taji
April 7, 2008
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Apr 7, 2008) -- Throughout their military careers, Staff Sgt. Shane Hansen and his brother, Sgt. 1st Class Zane Hansen, say they have always been on opposite sides of the world.
Personal and duty commitments have the Hansen brothers' chances to get together over the years, but a mission change and a little good fortune recently brought them together here.
Shane, who is stationed in Katterbach, Germany as a section sergeant in Company D, 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation, deployed to Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, in July. Zane, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, learned his unit would also deploy to Iraq in November.
When Task Force XII -- led by the 3-158's parent unit, U.S. Army Europe's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade -- received the mission of becoming the aviation task force for Multi-National Division - Baghdad in November, the Hansen brothers found their first opportunity to be stationed together.
"I was excited when I found out we would be here together, because the last time I saw (Zane), before this deployment was at our parents' house in August of 2004," said Shane. "We usually get to see each other about once every five years."
The brothers, natives of Wichita, Kan., live and work less than a half a mile away from each other here, yet still remain worlds apart.
"Right now I'm working night shift and (Shane) works day shift. It seems like every time my shift changes, so does his," said Zane, a platoon sergeant in Troop T, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is currently serving with TF XII. "Since we've been stationed here together, we've only seen each other about three or four times."
Shane, who has been in the Army 12 years, said the brothers' differing work schedules make it difficult for him and Zane to get together without making a special effort.
The brothers say their families have mixed feelings about them being stationed together in Iraq.
"Our wives are happy that we are stationed here together because they feel we have someone to talk to," said Shane, a UH-60 Black Hawk maintainer. "Our parents don't like the idea of us being here together because if something happens, it might happen to both of us. But our older sister isn't too worried about us being here."
Both brothers are on their second deployments. Zane has deployed to Bosnia, and Shane to Afghanistan. Zane, the older of the pair, joined the Army a little more than a year before Shane, and the Hansens have been on opposite sides of the world ever since.
"When I joined the Army, in 1994, I got stationed in Korea," said Zane, an AH-64D Apache Longbow maintainer. "When he joined the Army and got stationed in Hawaii, I was stationed in the States."
Communicating with each other was difficult for the first couple of years, before the wide acceptance of the internet, said Shane, but it's much better now.
Zane has always been in aviation, but Shane started his military career as a signal Soldier.
"I really didn't like that job, and Zane would always tell me about his job and all of the cool things he did," said Shane. "He wasn't the only reason I chose this job, but he definitely helped me make my decision."
Both the brothers' grandfathers served in the Army during World War II, and their father was also a Soldier for a time, shortly after the Vietnam War.
Growing up, the Hansens say, they had plenty of good times mixed with a little bit of mischief.
Although they try to stay professional, brothers will be brothers, and sometimes that mischievous nature resurfaces.
"All of (Zane's) Soldiers want to know about him," said Shane. "Every once and a while one of them will come up to me and ask me questions about him and I'll give them a tidbit of information about some of the things he did growing up."
Shane has been selected for promotion to sergeant first class and he says in the future he would like to be stationed back in the U.S. For his part, Zane says, he and his wife are discussing the idea of asking to be stationed in Europe.
If both their wishes are granted, the Hansens will be on opposite sides of the Earth again