As new Soldiers shuffle in and out of Fort Jackson's 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception)
for in-processing, a drill sergeant halts a female Soldier with an empty water hydration carrier.
"Didn't I just scream at you to go fill up Sanchez," she yells. "Do you have a twin or something?"
The Soldier, knowing this wouldn't be her last time answering this question, replies quickly: "Yes,
drill sergeant. I do."
Pvt. Anabel Sanchez and Pvt. Liana Sanchez, both 23, of Alpha and Bravo companies, 3rd Battalion,
13th Infantry Regiment, are identical twins who decided to serve their country through the Army National Guard.
The Los Alamitos, California, sisters said joining the Army was a childhood dream for them both.
The decision to finally pursue careers in the military came after the passing of their mother last year.
"We wanted to do something to make her proud," said Anabel. "She was always supportive of us
wanting to go in, and we finally did this for her."
The twins were originally supposed to be in Alpha Company together, but upon meeting the two
at reception, 1st. Sgt. Jeremiah Shepard, of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment,
recognized it was time to separate them.
"Everything I read about twins said that it's best to split them up," he said. "Twins are usually used
to doing things together. When you split them up they have an opportunity to really learn what their
strengths are and develop (them) without the other."
At first, neither of the girls took well to being split up. Both admit that it was probably for the best,
though. What helped make the transition easier was being able to see each other at church.
"Sunday was the only day I looked forward to," said Liana. "Sometimes we got to see each other
while out in the field, but on Sunday I got to talk with my sister and catch up with her. Seeing her
was like being able to go home. It helped with being homesick."
After today's graduation, the twins are off to Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia.
"I'm excited about going home because I know as a Soldier in the National Guard my sister will be
right there with me in my unit," said Anabel. "We get to be together again."