By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)July 28, 2016
Little brothers often follow in the footsteps of their older siblings, whether it is in sports, at high school or just wanting to tag along.
For two brothers from Texas, the roles were reversed when little brother wanted to join the Army.
Their paths eventually led them to Fort Leonard Wood for Advanced Individual Training.
When Pvt. Jorge Bastida, 20, decided to join the Army Reserve, it wasn't something he expected his brother to do. For Jorge, it was a matter of pride and the opportunity to attend college to better his life.
"I always thought it would be pretty cool to wear the uniform and didn't think there would be anything to lose if I joined the military," Jorge said.
Pvt. Felipe Bastida, 22, was already working as a truck driver in Texas when the competitive spirit, and the sense of patriotism, put him on the same path as his younger brother.
"One of the main reasons I joined was because our parents are immigrants," Felipe said. "I feel really lucky to have been born here, and I feel like I had to do something to pay back our country."
Mom and dad both immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1980s and first settled in Upland, California before ending up in Victoria, Texas. The thought of their sons joining the Army wasn't expected at first, but mom, Tania Bastida, said the Family is proud of their two Soldiers.
Jorge added that it was because he and Felipe were breaking new ground for the Family.
"We are the first in our Family to join the military, so I think it's kind of a big deal to them, and to us," Jorge said.
The brothers attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, together, but were not in the same platoon. However, their close proximity helped the brothers support each other all the way to graduation.
"Basic training was hard for us," Jorge said. "(Felipe) did push me a little bit. We do compete a lot, even in the little things."
The Bastida brothers then came to Fort Leonard Wood for AIT for motor transport operator school. It was here that Felipe started to take on more of a "big brother" role as a Soldier. It didn't go unnoticed by the platoon sergeants.
"(Felipe) is pretty much a good big brother and a hard-charger," said Staff Sgt. Reggie Page, platoon sergeant for Company A, 58th Transportation Battalion. "That's why we picked him as a squad leader. He's like a big brother to the squad."
For Felipe, it was just part of being a good Soldier. He said he noticed the little things, such as Soldiers talking in formation. He started to push those around him to do better.
Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Luchs, Co. A platoon sergeant, said Felipe and Jorge are a big reason their squad is one of the best.
"Their maturity level is beyond what we normally see here at AIT," Luchs said. "Also, their discipline and take-charge attitude is beyond reproach, and by far they are part of the top 20 percent in the class. (Felipe's) squad is normally the one we don't have problems with. They take their job serious, and it's been that way since day one."
Following their graduation from AIT on July 19, the Bastida brothers reported to the 370th Transportation Company Detachment at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, together. Just like they've done the rest of their Army careers.
"We feel so proud and happy they are together on this journey," Tania said. "They are so close, and their bond is stronger than ever."