Like most initial entry Soldiers overjoyed about starting Basic Combat Training, Pvt. Roger Kendrick, of Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, used Facebook to share his excitement of being shipped off to Fort Jackson to start his career as a Soldier.
He expected he might get a few "likes" and a couple of comments from his post, but what Kendrick did not anticipate was connecting with an unknown relative.
"My dad got a message on Facebook from one of his cousin's saying that her grandson was going to Fort Jackson too," said Kendrick. "And I told my dad to tell her to have him add me as a friend."
And that's what Pvt. Michael Weese of Charlie Company did. He added Kendrick and the two cousins began to talk about their expectations.
"My grandma was like 'you got a cousin that's going to be there too', and I was like 'okay,'" said Weese. "He sent me a message and we started talking about Army stuff."
They both arrived at Fort Jackson at the same time to the same battalion. Although their barracks and training area are in close proximity, the two cousins didn't have a chance to actually meet in person until Sept. 4, four weeks before graduation.
"I told the chaplain I had a cousin I've never met here, and he set it up for us to meet in his office," said Kendrick.
Weese, who's from Florida, said that he had never heard of Kendrick until his grandmother, Judith Lipps, told him. Kendrick's Family moved around a lot and his father is the nephew of
Kendrick said the two of them talked for about 20 minutes in the chaplain's office.
"I asked him how was Echo and he asked me how was Charlie," Weese said. "We just talked about Army stuff."
Lipps said that the Family plans on having a small reunion after the two men graduate Sept. 29 on Fort Jackson's Hilton Field.
"I have never met little Roger and look forward to seeing him and Michael and reconnecting with family," she said.