By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)January 21, 2016
When two sisters from a set of triplets made the decision to follow the Family tradition of military service, there was no doubt in their minds they would take on the challenge together.
Pvts. Alyxandra and Brandy Erdmann, both assigned to Company C, 795th Military Police Battalion, grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with military stories from their grandfather, father, uncle. Those stories stayed with the sisters and led them to the Army and Fort Leonard Wood where they could begin creating their own stories about serving as military police.
"It's always been a thing in the back of my head that if I didn't do it, I wouldn't feel accomplished," Brandy, the middle sibling, said.
"My grandfather was a Marine, and he would always talk about (his service)," Alyxandra, the oldest, said. "Dad was in the Navy, my uncle was in the Navy, and they just gave us the motivation to join."
Pvt. Casey Erdmann, the youngest of the triplets, graduated Army Basic Combat Training in July as a cavalry scout, Alyxandra said, paving the way for his sisters to graduate today.
"He told us a lot to get ready for," Alyxandra said. "He told us how important it is to pass a PT test, he gave us the advice basically to not drop your bags when you first arrive and get off the bus. He just gave us little insiders of how it would be."
At 20 years old, the Erdmann sisters grew up sharing almost everything. They shared a bedroom, worked the same jobs and chose to attend the same college. Joining the same Army Reserve unit, 346th Military Police Company, Hutchinson, Kansas, to become military policemen was just their next challenge to face, together.
"We did everything together," Alyxandra said. "We like the same stuff, so we just thought it would be awesome to have my sister, who is my best friend, by my side the whole time."
Their desire to be military police evolved from their mutual love of cop dramas on television.
"That's one of the only things I wanted to do was be a cop," Brandy said.
Both sisters stand at about 5 feet 6 inches tall and have blonde hair and brown eyes. They are identical in almost every way, leading to some interesting incidents early on in training.
There were a few moments when the drill sergeants of Co. C, couldn't tell them apart. It was a case of mistaken identity in one instance involving Staff Sgt. Christopher Willard, 2nd Platoon drill sergeant.
"It was an interesting experience at first, because I was told there were siblings, but I didn't know I had one of them," he said. "I found who I believed was my Erdmann, but it was her sister from another platoon, so we had an interesting engagement during red phase."
Willard saw who he thought was his Erdmann with the wrong color of tape designating her platoon. When he confronted her about being a traitor, Brandy stepped in and assured him they were indeed in the correct platoons.
The occasional mix-up aside, drill sergeants from both platoons said being together could be beneficial for siblings at BCT.
"I think it's really good for them, because a lot of these Soldiers have problems being away from their Families," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Shephard, 2nd Platoon drill sergeant. "They have each other to provide that motivation to keep them going."
Although they have essentially been attached at the hip their entire lives, Brandy said it has been a growing experience to complete training, and do it on their own.
"We have tried to separate ourselves to not be so reliant on one another, because we have been like that our whole lives," she said.
When Brandy and Alyxandra graduate today, they will join the long line of Erdmann's who have chosen to serve their country.