Spc. Debralee P. Crankshaw
CFLCC PAO/11th PAD
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait " Service and sibling rivalry ran strong during the Army vs. Navy game for two servicemembers deployed to Camp Arifjan. But after the game, the bonds of brotherhood stayed strong.
The brothers, Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Cruz, 501st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division joint network node hub-node noncommissioned officer in charge, and Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Cruz, Law and Order Detachment patrol supervisor, were thrilled to be in a deployed environment together.
Kevin arrived in August while his brother was volunteering for his current assignment.
"It was a planned evolution " not so much for him, but for me," Kelly said. "I saw the opportunity to serve with my brother before his retirement. I thought it"d be fun for both of us."
Kelly arrived in October and immediately tried to find his brother.
"The morning I arrived I noticed a 101st Airborne Division sign in Zone 6," Kelly said. "I thought it was his unit, but it was finance."
Kelly asked about his brother and finance helped him get a hold of him.
The two decided to meet for breakfast that morning at the dining facility but while Kelly was waiting at the Zone 6 DFAC, Kevin was at Zone 1. Kelly asked a passerby if there was another DFAC and found out about the other two. He decided to try Zone 1. He took the bus to Zone 1 but his brother wasn't there either.
Kevin had left to check Zone 6 for his brother. Kelly wasn't sure about catching the bus back so he started walking and ran into Kevin walking back to Zone 1.
"He cried," Kevin joked.
The brothers said they have a good time with each other.
"We spend a majority of our off time together " watching and playing sports, hanging out and playing cards," Kelly said. "We even get together and call our mother."
The brothers are only 18 months apart in age and said they think that helped form a bond early on along with their leisure activities.
"We share a lot of interests and our ages helped make us close," Kelly said. "We spent a majority of our time growing up together " more so than our other brothers."
Over the years, the brothers say their bond has only grown.
"We used to fight with each other," Kevin said. "Now we fight together."
The two also contribute their bonds of brotherhood while growing up in south Bronx, N.Y., with their mother.
"It was tough love growing up in New York City," Kelly said.
"We were learning our lessons on the street," Kevin added.
But the brothers" normal hang out " the Salvation Army " was why they said they think everything turned out well.
"It was a place to go," Kevin said. "It gave the opportunity to have an area of safety and mom didn't have to worry about us."
Today, their mother's worries aren't over because both her sons are deployed.
"Her concern was fear immediatelyâ?¦ but we've assured her that altogether we're in good hands," Kelly said. "I think she's equally as glad to say her sons are supporting the Global War on Terrorism and the military mission."
While the brothers are in separate services, they value each other and the other service.
"There is no real rivalry," Kelly said. "I have respect for the Army, he has respect for the Navy."
"I've worked with the Navy before and it builds a respect," Kevin added. "When I went to work with them I found them more technical in their jobs while the Army is focused on pushing out leaders."