By T. Anthony BellJanuary 20, 2011
Fort Lee, VA (Jan. 20, 2011) - Anyone who attended Army basic training knows the role of a battle buddy: watch your fellow Soldier's back.
There's a bit of a twist to that term, however, when your battle buddy has assumed that role your entire life.
Meet Pvt. Ares Gyulai, a 19-year-old currently attending the Quartermaster School's automated logistical specialist course here.
Meet also his battle buddy, Pvt. Janos Gyulai, his 42-year-old father and classmate.
The two Mike Company, 244th QM Battalion, 23rd QM Brigade, Soldiers are residents of Portland, Ore., and natives of Lugoj, Romania. They enlisted on the same day - Aug. 31, 2010 - underwent basic combat training together at Fort Sill, Okla., and arrived at Fort Lee in November to attend advanced individual training together. The elder Gyulai is part of a recent wave of parents who have joined their children in military service. He explained why he joined the Army Reserve with his only child.
"I came with my son because the Army is a good start and an opportunity to give back," he said.
Ares has similar sentiments.
"The Army is a good start for a young person," he said. "I'm glad to start with my dad."
The Gyulais immigrated to this country two years ago after Janos divorced his second wife, an American citizen of Romanian descent.
The younger Gyulai, who attended high school in the United States, hasn't completely adapted to his new home, but there are indications that he is doing well. He uses the word "cool" in every other sentence and frequently smiles as if he's been given approval to play his favorite video game.
Father Janos, a former sergeant in the Romanian Army, projects a more serious tone and seems to be more reserved than his son.
Personality differences aside, both father and son relish the opportunity to better themselves and serve as citizens Soldiers. It now finds them in the seventh week of an nine-week course, where they've been greeted with double takes, stares of curiosity and questions on how they get along together. They both shrug off any negative notions.
"I don't feel uncomfortable with my father because he's my best buddy," said Ares, who is his father's roommate. "We've been through a lot together, and I'm really happy to have him here."
Janos said the two have had to put aside all the curiosity to focus on their training.
"He (Ares) is a grown man, and I try not to interfere with him or offend him," he said. "But I try to motivate him and keep him straight. I try in some ways to console him, like he's my true battle buddy. We have to be battle buddies and not father and son."
Ares said his father's presence alone has been motivation enough to accomplish his goals.
"It's really cool," he said. "If the platoon sergeant doesn't square me away, (my father) will."
After the Gyulais complete the course, they intend to put their career plans into action. Ares will begin school at Portland State University in the fall. Janos will pursue an interest in computer technology.
"We are very motivated to do what we propose to do," said Janos.