FORT BENNING, Ga. -- On a cool, sunny morning on the parade grounds of the National Infantry Museum, identical twin brothers Pfc. Gavin Worrell and Pvt. Tyler Worrell graduated from One Station Unit Training with the 198th Infantry Training Brigade wearing their Infantry blue cords, adding to their father's legacy of service.
“I think it means a lot, to follow in his footsteps and lead on,” said Gavin. Tyler continued “It was following my father’s footsteps for me and serving my country.”
Their father, Sean Worrell, was also inspired by family members to answer the call to service. “A lot of people in my family have served and are still serving,” he said.
While Sean’s career kept him deployed roughly every other year, his mother, who he cited as a particular inspiration, had a less busy schedule. “She actually was home a lot, she just did one term [with] no deployments,” he said.
That sort of set schedule will likely not be in the cards for the Worrell twins as they head to their first duty station in Alaska as newly minted infantry Soldiers, denoted by their military occupational specialty 11B. They will not be alone in the frozen north; their older brother, Sgt. Blake Worrell, is stationed in the 49th state, awaiting the twins’ arrival.
“We’ve talked to him a little bit and he’s honestly really excited, we’ll be able to hang out a lot more than we used to,” said Tyler. “He seems pretty excited especially since he’ll have more family and he [won’t be] by himself,” Gavin added.
Blake agreed he is happy to have his brothers joining him not only in Alaska, but in the Army as well.
“I am grateful to have this opportunity … to help guide them in the right direction and help them with whatever they may need,” he said.
Enlistment seemed a natural course of action for the sons of a father who they say influenced their decision to serve.
“We both made the decision when we were younger … to join the Army,” said Gavin. “And seeing our dad as a hero … we wanted to be just like him. Every reason we had for joining the military is because of him,” Tyler continued.
The Worrell twins, who joined the service under the Buddy Team Enlistment Option which allows for friends, or in this case brothers, to enlist together and enter basic training together, were supported by each other’s presence during the 22-week OSUT course.
“When platoons did different obstacle courses, and [Tyler’s] was just one step behind, we were able to turn around and just glance at each other every once in a while and it was nice,” said Gavin. “It was definitely cool having him by my side, even if we weren’t in the same platoons,” said Tyler.
Gavin said they learned about the program during a career fair at their high school. “I met my recruiter and I told him about my brother and he said ‘oh, we can get you guys on our Buddy Program.’ I brought [Tyler] in and [our recruiter] signed us up.”
That sort of family bond may seem peculiar to some, but the Worrell’s are tight knit. “Our dad, even on deployments, every chance he had he [would video chat] with us. It was super nice to be able [to see] him,” said Gavin. “There was one Christmas where he sent over a big box of video games and we got to pick out of it,” said Tyler. “It was cool because he did a lot for us even though he was so far away.”
While the Worrell men have served and continue to serve abroad, a stable home life is a key piece to success in the Military Family. Melissa Worrell, wife to Sean and mother to Blake, Gavin, and Tyler provides that stability.
“I feel honored to have raised these boys. Watching my husband pursue his dream and supporting every single step has given our three sons a foundation. It has shown them how not only to excel in life, but to excel as a Soldier,” Melissa said. “They have big shoes to fill. Raising these boys into the wonderful men (and Soldiers) they are today were the best years of my life.”
While life in the military can be hectic, Melissa said it left a positive mark on her children. “The boys grew up in the Army. Blake was six when [Sean] joined and the twins were one. They grew up playing on military bases and Soldiers were everyday life for them,” she said. “Moving all over, even living in Germany and changing schools often, the boys adapted well and made friends wherever we went.”
The twins will continue to make new friends as they move on to their first duty station, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. For these two self-proclaimed outdoorsmen, the wilderness presents exciting opportunities.
“Alaska’s beautiful. I can’t wait for the hiking and fishing,” said Tyler. Gavin echoed his brother’s sentiment, confirming the pair were ready to embody the Alaska state motto “North to the Future.”