Sons of a first sergeant, the Strasser brothers learned what military life was about long before they raised their right hands. For Matthew and Jeremy Strasser of the 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard, military service is a family affair.
Their father, retired Sgt. Maj. Gary Strasser, served in the Iowa Army National Guard for more than 37 years. He encouraged his children to consider the National Guard and two of his sons made that commitment nearly 25 years ago.
For Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Strasser, Command Sergeant Major (CSM) of the 1-113th Cav., enlisting in Troop B at the age of 18 was well received at home.
"I like to tell people 'Dad made me,'" Matthew said. "He was, at the time I joined, the B Troop first sergeant. I didn't have much direction, so the military was a good option for me."
As for the younger brother, Sgt. Maj. Jeremy Strasser, Operations Sergeant Major, 1-113th Cav., he knew the military was the place for him. He joined Troop B two years later, following in his father’s and big brother’s footsteps.
“I joined in high school. My brother was already a specialist in one of the scout platoons,” Jeremy said.
What Jeremy found was a family that stretched beyond his dad and brother.
“The ‘cav’ in itself is a brotherhood,” said Jeremy. “With the camaraderie in our organization, they are all like my brothers."
Whether it’s brothers from the same mother or “brothers from another mother,” when family works together it’s about being fair and impartial.
“Honestly, we’ve all tried to keep ourselves separate from each other in uniform,” Matthew said. “It’s never good to show favoritism or anything, so I think my dad went the absolute opposite direction with me and was way harder on me than he was on anyone else. But it helped mold me into what I am today.”
That “molding” has forged two leaders committed to the welfare and discipline of a 450-Soldier strong family.
Like many families, the Strasser brothers joke and have friendly competition, but both agree it’s great to have family around.
“I’ve deployed with my dad and I’ve deployed with my brother,” Matthew said. “When you’re deployed, that’s pretty special to have a family member there because you’re able to see them on holidays.”
Even when the two brothers aren’t on duty, conversations around the house can sometimes turn to military matters.
“It’s kind of unique that we’ve all become sergeants major,” Matthew said. “When the three of us get together, I joke with people that we’ve got an E27 in the house.”
“And what would life be without a little sibling rivalry?” Jeremy said, who has spent most of his career just one step behind his brother.
“I’ve been trying to catch my brother for 21 years,” Jeremy said. “He can’t go any higher than CSM, so I’m going to catch him. I’m hoping to get the CSM wreath someday.”
Regardless of what the future holds, these brothers have left a lasting imprint on a family; the same family that’s left a lasting imprint on them – the cavalry.