By Spc. Roland HaleOctober 31, 2010
Shortly after identical twins Pfc. Lane Higson and Pfc. Casey Higson arrived at Fort Riley, Kan., this spring, they went to war.
The twins, natives of Myrtle Beach, S.C., joined the Army just over a year ago using a "buddy system" option, and together made it through several grueling months of training. They arrived at Fort Riley in March hoping to catch a break after nearly a year of training, but the Army had different plans. Their unit, the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, was deploying to Iraq, and the twins were quickly processed, trained, equipped, and on their way.
Looking back after nearly nine months of deployment, the 28-year-old twins, (in twin-like unison), said that they never expected to be in Iraq, or the military for that matter.
"We do everything together, obviously, and we've done lots, but we never thought we'd be doing this," said Lane.
Before they enlisted, Lane and Casey graduated from East Carolina University with bachelor's degrees in psychology. They returned to Myrtle Beach looking for work, and after two years of working odd jobs, decided to give the Army a shot.
"In college you couldn't get us anywhere near a recruiter, ROTC, or anything like that," said Lane, "but after a few years, we started to get interested in the possibility of joining."
"We thought we could join the Army in a mental health related field and help out the troops coming home with issues like PTSD," said Casey.
No positions were available, however, and the twins enlisted as communications specialists - not quite their first choice, but they figured that after spending a few years among the enlisted ranks they could transfer to the mental health field with a little front line experience.
They have still managed to get some psychology related work in between their normal duties though. Both sisters have taken turns working at the Taji Warrior Resiliency Campus, a facility on Camp Taji designed to provide deployed troops with access to mental health support and other tools to build their morale and welfare.
"We're very lucky to get to work here," said Casey. "We get to help people, sometimes if it's just by talking to them."
Some peers in their unit have named Lane and Casey the "double trouble," which fits, they said, because they are "like one mind in two bodies." The twins' similarity doesn't end at their uncanny resemblance, they said. Lane and Casey earn the same Army physical fitness test score, eat the same food, read the same books, and use the same words.
"Being twins is fun, and it's normal for us, we've been sisters our whole lives," said Casey. "I think that being in the Army, and especially being in Iraq, has brought us even closer than we were before."
The Higsons are scheduled to return to Fort Riley this March at the end of their unit's tour. They will have a reunion of sorts before that, however, when they meet their mother in Hawaii for mid-tour leave.