Twin brothers take top leadership positions at separate ROTC programs
Cadet Steven Yerina (left), battalion commander at Penn State, and Cadet Alex Yerina (far right), battalion commander at Virginia Tech, pose for a photo with Alex’s roommate Cadet Ryan Kros. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Like many sets of twins, Alex and Steven Yerina have shared many experiences during a lifetime of living with someone who look just like you. They’ve done many things together as twin brothers over the years, and are adding to the things they have in common as both currently serve as battalion commanders at their respective ROTC programs.

The brothers began their time as battalion commanders this semester with Alex heading up Virginia Tech’s program and Steven taking command of Penn State’s program. Alex plans to graduate with a degree in Economic and Political Science and Steven is working on his degree in Supply Chain Management.

Doing things together has just come natural to the two, said Steven.

“We played basketball and volleyball together in high school. It was extremely enjoyable because we already had good chemistry and it translated well for sports,” he said. “In terms of ROTC, we will call each other and ask for advice about what each school is doing in regards to different aspects.”

“We grew up playing everything together,” added Alex. “We played pretty much every sport available growing up. In addition, both choosing to do ROTC, we really push each other to get the most out of our programs, like what we did with everything growing up.”

Alex said the relationship with his brother has helped them both reach their goals.

“My brother and I have always been extremely close. Growing up, we constantly were holding each other to high standards in everything we did. I loved growing up as a twin and being one,” he explained.

“My brother and I have a great relationship. We constantly try to better each other and help each other in any way we can,” Steven added. “Growing up together was great, we were both motivated to be in the Army for a while. Now, we continue to support each other.”

Steven said he wanted to join ROTC to add on to a life of learning and leadership.

“I joined ROTC because I knew I wanted to serve my country in the Army, and thought it was the right route for me. I hope to continue to build leadership skills and, overall, want to be a good officer,” he said.

Alex said joining ROTC is a decision that has enriched his life.

“I joined ROTC because I have always wanted to be in the Army, and after talking to a lot of people and researching, I determined that doing ROTC was the best route,” he said. “The experiences in ROTC are amazing, if you apply for everything and do your best, there are some great opportunities. Those, along with experiences, are what I hope to gain from the program, applying those lessons learned as an officer.”

Steven said he’s excited to be a battalion commander at the same time as his brother.

“It feels great that both of us are BCs at our programs because we have worked hard the past few years and are excited to enact positive change and lead our programs,” he said. “We advise each other on a multitude of different topics. For example, our battalion created/modified an official SOP, so we helped each other develop that.”

Being able to bounce ideas off of one another has been useful in getting a different perspective, said Alex.

“It’s exciting that we both have this awesome opportunity. I know I rely on my brother a lot for help, and advice on what he is doing with his battalion,” he said. “He has a completely different perspective on all things military, being from a different school, so he is a great resource for help on new ideas.”

The brothers both hope to branch combat arms as Infantry officers in the Active Army.

About Army ROTC

Army ROTC produces approximately 70 percent of the officers entering the Army each year and is available through nearly 1,000 college campuses nationwide ranging from Harvard to Berkley -- from Tufts to Ohio State. Army ROTC teaches leadership and discipline, management techniques, cultural awareness and problem solving. Those who participate in Army ROTC and subsequently serve as Army officers develop leadership and managerial skills that last a lifetime.