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Brothers deploy to Iraq

Photo and story by Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Tejada, 2-113IB

CAMP BUCCA, Iraq - For some, the memories of growing up with siblings can be bittersweet. One rule was a constant: you took care of each other, no matter what.

This is the creed by which brothers Franklyn and Spencer Gomez have lived by their entire life, and has now taken on a new meaning here in Camp Bucca, Iraq.

Franklyn, 22, and Spencer, 20 have rarely been apart. “Growing up, we were always together,” said Franklyn. “We wound up in the same unit, doing the same job.”

Brothers Spc. Franklyn (l) and Spc. Spencer Gomez joke around on the roof of a building at Camp Bucca. They rely on each other to get through the rigors of deployment.

According to their mother, Nury Gomez, the Army-like discipline she instilled in her boys was necessary to keep them safe.

“We were a small family, it was just the three of us… and ever since they were little, I always taught them to take care of each other,” she sighed during a phone interview.

Now alone at her home, Nury still supports her sons’ decision to join the New Jersey National Guard.

“I’ve always liked the military… and they’re boys who know good from bad, and I will always support them in their decisions,” said Nury.

She has never wavered in her support, not even when she heard the news her sons, and only family in the United States, were being deployed to Iraq at the same time.

Both brothers were originally assigned to the same company, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-113th Infantry Battalion, both hold the same military occupational skill and rank, supply specialist and specialist.

Their deployment has changed their career unison. Franklyn is now assigned to Charlie Company, 2-113th Infantry Battalion, as a detainee guard. Spencer remained in HHC, filling his older brother’s shoes as the lead supply specialist.

They work opposite schedules. Spencer works day shift, while Franklyn has become a creature of the night. However, their biggest challenge is not working with detainees or endless property inventories.

“The biggest challenge of this deployment is not being able to tell my wife what I do,” said Franklyn, who married just prior to deploying. “I could only tell her that I had a long, and OK day here.”

Spencer’s biggest challenge has been uncertainty. “The hardest part is not knowing what’s going on at home all the time,” he said.

In spite of their challenges, both brothers have soldiered on, and lean on each other for support.

“My brother makes me feel like we’re back at home,” Spencer said. “I see him two or three times a week, and instead of talking about work, we play [Nintendo] Wii or talk about random stuff,” he added.

Their mother, thinks this deployment will be a good experience for all of them.

“This [separation] will unite our family even more,” Nury said proudly. “This will be an experience that they will never forget and pass on to their own sons one day.”

Eyes in the sky: Cav keeeeps watch - overhead
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Max Kimmel (r), 887th Air Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, explains the function of the Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Master Sgt. Eric Evelo (l), Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-102nd Cavalry Squadron, and Maj. Dennis Williams (c), 306th Military Police Battalion, during a base defense briefing at Camp
Bucca on Feb. 5. The base defense mission, to include the command and control of the UAVs, is led by Headquarters, 2-113th Infantry Battalion. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Jason Fetterolf.


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Volume 34 Number 4 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs