By Staff Sgt. Debralee Best, 84th Training CommandApril 4, 2017
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- The smallest details make it evident that Army reservists Staff Sgt. Jeshua Moore and Sgt. Gereld Moore of Lancaster, Wisconsin, are two different people. Gereld wears wire-framed glasses, while Jeshua's are a slightly thicker, black plastic. The rank difference is sometimes a giveaway as well, but not always.
Gereld has been asked many times why he was demoted, and Jeshua is constantly congratulated on Gereld's promotion.
The identical twin brothers are completing gunnery tables at Operation Cold Steel here. The brothers are not on the same crews, though, because if they are mobilized, they would operate in their own platoons with the 327th Engineer Company, 416th Theater Engineer Command out of Onalaska, Wisconsin.
"The unit asked for volunteers," Jeshua said. "They were trying to set up [a noncommissioned officer] with a gunner and a driver to make a gun crew." The brothers volunteered.
"It's extra time," Jeshua explained. "You don't get a whole lot of crew-served time in the Reserve. It's more crew-served time and extra training we wouldn't normally get, and then we can take that back to the unit and help train other soldiers on it to be more proficient."
Gereld said he volunteered because he doesn't always see interesting activities in the Army and he thought Cold Steel would be fun. "They're not just going to pay you to do fun stuff all the time," he said, "but this is one those things that we get the chance to do more fun stuff, like shooting machine guns."
Operation Cold Steel is the U.S. Army Reserve's crew-served weapons qualification and validation exercise to ensure that Reserve units and soldiers are trained and ready to deploy on short notice and bring combat-ready and lethal firepower in support of the Army and joint partners anywhere in the world.
While at Operation Cold Steel, Jeshua ended up with the nickname "Big Moore," because he is higher in rank than his brother. But, while Jeshua may outrank Gereld, Gereld is older by two minutes.
"So, the whole time growing up, he was a little older," Jeshua said with a big grin. "He got to do everything first and got everything first. [But] I joined the Army first, and I outrank him, so now I get to do everything first." Gereld responded with a shrug, a laugh and, "Sure."
In reality, Jeshua said, he wanted to join early in his childhood.
"But my parents wanted me to go to college," he added, "so I got an associate degree and I worked for a couple of years and decided, 'Nope, still want to.' But his mother was against the idea at first, he said.
"I told her, 'I did what you wanted me to do. I went to college first. Now I still want to join,'" he said. "She got used to the idea when I was in basic training -- she came to the graduation. … Then, obviously, just like any other parent, she was really proud and had no problem with it then." Then he looked at Gereld and added jokingly, "Until you joined."
Gereld joined three years later. He joined Jeshua's unit and had some regrets within the first few hours of his first battle assembly.
"My first day in the unit, as a brand-new private first class right out of [advanced individual training], we got a new first sergeant that day," he said. "He didn't know there were twins in the unit. He had his leadership meeting and saw all his NCOs. Never saw me. I was in the back of the platoon, [at the] back of the formation. After formation, we were told to go out and [conduct preventive maintenance checks and services on] the trucks. I was PMCSing the truck, and I hear the first sergeant coming my way, yelling, 'Sergeant Moore!' yelling louder and louder, getting closer and closer.
"I step down off the truck, he spins me around and yells, 'Sergeant Moore, I'm talking to you! Wait a minute, you were wearing sergeant rank this morning,'" he continued. "'No, first sergeant.' 'Yes, you were! I saw you at my leadership meeting!' 'No, first sergeant.'"
The first sergeant told Gereld he was going to put him in for impersonating a noncommissioned officer, lying to a noncommissioned officer and verbal disrespect to a noncommissioned officer.
"Not that I disrespected him, but when I started to stutter, I was shaking very badly," Gereld recalled. "That was very scary for a new private."
"Not even four hours into his first drill and the first sergeant is screaming at him," Jeshua interjected with a laugh.
"My platoon sergeant stood in the doorway, laughing as I was looking back for help and standing in front of the first sergeant's desk," Gereld said. "Finally someone came in and said, 'No, that's the twin. There's two of them.' It was a rough first day."
That's just one of countless mistaken identity stories the twins have.
Gereld said he had an entire lunch with one of Jeshua's first sergeants, who didn't know until the end of the meal that he wasn't Jeshua. Jeshua visited Gereld during a battle assembly and had a platoon leader give him tasks to complete. When Gereld was being mobilized, Jeshua visited in civilian clothing and was told he had to be in uniform.
At this point, the siblings are used to it and just play it off.
"After this many years, we're pretty much used to it. Growing up, people [often were] getting us wrong and thinking we're the other one," Jeshua said. "I'm sure to this day there are some who didn't realize they were talking to the wrong one."