Twins carry on family tradition of military service
Pfcs. Luis Joel (left) and Luis Javier Torres Perez are twin brothers from Puerto Rico assigned to Company C, 35th Engineer Battalion, for One Station Unit Training here. While they have a family tradition of military service — their father and grandfather each served in the Army — the siblings decided to join the Army together after seeing the support National Guard Soldiers provided after the Category 5 Hurricane Maria "destroyed our island" in September 2017. (Photo Credit: Photo by Amanda Sullivan) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Saturday was National Siblings Day, a time to recognize the roles brothers and sisters play in people’s lives.

For many, having a sibling can be a support mechanism, and what better place to have the familiarity of home than while attending Army One Station Unit Training.

Pfcs. Luis Joel and Luis Javier Torres Perez are twin brothers who joined the Army together — both are currently assigned to Company C, 35th Engineer Battalion. Though they are in separate platoons, Joel said seeing his brother is enough.

“Having my brother at basic training motivates me to be a better person because I see him grow and I want to do the same,” he said.

Family tradition and a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves inspired the 20-year-old brothers to join the Army together.

“Our grandfather served in the Army and so did our dad,” Javier said. “My brother and I have always wanted to follow in our father’s footsteps. I’ve always seen military personnel as heroes and great at what they do.”

Javier said he was initially scared when their father joined the Army, but they quickly saw the positive benefits of military life. They believe it was the best choice he ever made.

“He showed us all the good things the Army had to offer,” Javier said. “We visited many places, saw the benefits (of military life) and how drastically it could change a person.”

In September 2017, Maria, a Category 5 hurricane, devastated Puerto Rico and the twins’ hometown of Lares.

“It destroyed our island,” Javier said. “It looked as if a bomb went off and destroyed everything.”

The brothers wanted to help but weren’t sure what they could do — then they saw Soldiers with the Army National Guard arrive to help their community.

“We saw the Army bringing food and helping with damages,” Javier said. “That really motivated us to join.”

After Maria, the twins couldn’t see themselves doing anything else but joining the Army. In 2020, they set out to fulfil their dream together.

“We set a goal to change our lives,” Javier said. “We wanted to follow our dreams and grow physically and mentally as people; become the best versions of ourselves as possible.”

When it comes to physical and mental growth, the Army is a great choice, said Capt. Mitchell Simmons, Charlie Company commander.

“Serving in the Army promotes pride in one’s self because they are answering a higher calling to defend our nation and the Constitution,” he said. “By completing basic training they are proving to themselves and to the rest of the world that they live the Army Values and are willing to put the people of the United States’ interest and wellbeing before their own; to one day potentially have to sacrifice their lives to maintain the freedoms that we hold dear as Americans.”

Javier said he and his brother each have an associate degree, and their goal is to one day become officers.

“We want to make a difference, serve our country and make our family proud,” Javier said.