By Bryan GatchellAugust 27, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Jony and Ben Rogers come from a Pensacola, Florida family of 13 children. Both brothers joined the Army, and both are now enrolled in the same platoon and same class of Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Ben, 30, served in the Army from 2011 to 2015, where he worked in human intelligence. He left the Army and did contracting work in the Washington, D.C. area, taught English in Iraq, and then returned to the Army, wanting to take an officer career path.
Jony, 23, went to school from 2013 to 2017 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. He worked as a software engineer after graduation before deciding to apply to Officer Candidate School.
Waiting for basic training and OCS to line up, his entry into the Army was delayed by six months. Jony then had to wait an additional six weeks for OCS to have a class size large enough for him to attend. Because of this timing, the two brothers happened to be placed in the same class together.
"We didn't plan it at all," said Jony. "It just all kind of lined up."
The two brothers had different reactions to finding out they would attend the school together.
"It was pretty cool," said Ben. "I knew mom would be happy, because she would only have to go to one graduation."
"I was initially quite happy with it, coming from basic," said Jony. "I didn't know what OCS would hold. I was told a lot of things by a lot of people who had never been to OCS."
One piece of information Jony considered reliable was that prior service Soldiers were more likely to do better at OCS.
"So knowing that he (Ben) would be there, someone I knew and trusted as far as having that experience and discipline, I knew that would make the course I was going through a lot easier," said Jony. "I wouldn't be stumbling around as much."
"It is nice to put some of my knowledge (to use), try to help him along, try to avoid some of the mistakes I made," said Ben.
Both Jony and Ben aspired to have careers within the Infantry, and both have branched Infantry. Ben said he is ultimately hoping for military intelligence with a branch detail to Infantry.
"A lot of my NCOs were prior Infantry, and you could see the difference," said Ben. "The Infantry and Armor branches produce a lot of fantastic leaders. And I want to be a leader first and foremost."
"Of all the people I talked to -- prior enlisted, prior officers -- a lot of them highly recommended going Infantry due to the high quality of Soldiers that are in there -- a lot more dedicated because you've got a lot more on the line," said Jony. "People that are in the Infantry generally tend to be more motivated to be better trained, better disciplined and just tend to have a good experience overall."