News: Brothers in arms
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – For most families, family reunions are a preplanned event to allow family members to come together and catch up on the past. With frequent travel and deployments, military members have a harder time making it to their family reunions. On the other hand, being in the military sometimes creates unique opportunities for families to reunite.
This was the case for Capt. Ken Anderson, personnel officer-in-charge for 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Lightning Horse, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, when he recently came across his own type of a family reunion when he met up with his brother in Afghanistan.
“I am thankful for this exquisite opportunity every day,” said Ken Anderson, a native of Tampa, Fla. “His initial arrival was special to me because he was able to pin me during my promotion to Captain. Since we both were selected for captain at the same time, I will get the opportunity to return the favor to him before I leave here.”
Ken Anderson was reunited with one of his older brothers, 1st Lt. Robert Anderson, the key leader engagement officer for the Deputy Commanding General-Maneuver, 3rd Infantry Division and Regional Command-South, also a native of Tampa, Fla.
“It was very interesting to introduce him to the soldiers in my workplace and vice versa,” stated Ken Anderson. “Everyone was very interested to meet him.”
In a way, their reunion could actually be considered planned. The situation came about when Ken Anderson went on his rest and relaxation leave period to the southeast corner of the United States, to visit family and his brother. Robert Anderson was stationed at Fort Stewart with a non-deploying unit. They talked about 3rd ID’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, the opportunity of transferring to a deploying unit, and decided that Robert Anderson should interview for the job.
“I knew I would get to see him here in Afghanistan, I just didn’t realize I would get stationed with him,” said Robert Anderson. “Out of five brothers, four of us are in the Army. With all of us in the military, it is hard to get together. Anytime we can meet up is a great reunion due to us being strewn throughout the world.”
This has enabled the two brothers to spend approximately six months together at the same location.
“Something like this doesn’t happen every day,” said Ken Anderson. “It is pretty amazing everything fell into place for this to happen. It is either a lucky coincidence or destined rendezvous. I thank the Army for putting this all together.”
The brothers have come close to being stationed together in the past. The first time was in Korea. Ken Anderson was stationed at Camp Casey and Robert Anderson was at Camp Humphreys. This time, they are both in the same area, same time, and working in the same division, but still assigned to different units.
“I love working with my brother,” said Robert Anderson. “We get to share similar experiences. We are going to try and get the same duty station after this. We got close a couple of times, but now we should have a better chance after I pin captain.”
Since the two brothers work in different units, finding time on their schedules leaves little time at the beginning or end of the day.
“We get together a couple of times a week to go to the gym,” said Ken Anderson. “Since his arrival, we have done various 5k runs and the Army 10-mile run. It’s hard to do meals with our schedules being so different, so we try to hang out when we can, which leaves our workouts.”
The workouts between the brothers are a time they both look forward to. “My workouts are real important to me because that is the time I get to spend with him,” stated Robert Anderson.
Both brothers still get together whenever the opportunity arises and do not take any moment for granted.
“The rareness of the occasion is not lost on me,” Ken Anderson said. “It is just an amazing experience to be stationed with your family. It’s like having your brother on a sports team. While we share the common goal of success, we do have friendly discussions on who is the best, 25th ID or 3rd ID.”