CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – While Sgt. David Haines and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Haines do not necessarily compete against one another, the 24-year-old twin brothers often wrangle back and forth as if they are teenagers fighting for a Playstation controller. Whether they are trash talking about the others military branch or arguing about dates of events, the brothers playfully interact like adolescents still living together on a daily basis.
Growing up, the Haines brothers had different interests. Michael ran track, worked and even spent the better part of a year living in Italy with his sister. David spent his free time practicing the piano, playing in a jazz band and taking drama classes at the local college. However, the brothers have always remained close.
The two graduated from Moscow Senior High School in Moscow, Idaho, during June 2006. After spending a few months out of school, David knew he wanted something different.
“I needed a change of pace,” David said. “My brother-in-law was trying to talk me into the Navy, but the Navy didn’t really interest me. The Marine recruiter was right next door and totally sold me.”
During January 2007, David left Idaho to become a Marine, and his twin brother was thinking about doing the same.
“I always wanted to join,” Michael said. “I had gotten married right out of high school. When we found out that my wife at the time was pregnant, I knew I needed to take care of my family, and I could finally do what I wanted.”
For the past five years, Michael and David have shared two duty stations. However, they have not been stationed together at the same time. The brothers have both been assigned to units in Okinawa, Japan, and are both currently assigned to units at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
David, the Afghan National Army development chief, Afghan National Security Force Development, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), deployed from Camp Pendleton to Afghanistan during February 2012. His brother, who is a corpsman, checked into his current unit, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, during April 2012 and deployed to Afghanistan during the summer of 2012. This is the first time the bothers have deployed to a combat zone and the first time they have been together in five years, except for a few days during Christmas leave.
“It’s pretty interesting,” Michael said. “We always kept missing one another at our previous duty stations. It’s pretty cool that we are here together though.”
Although being deployed in the same area is nice for the brothers, David has found himself on the edge of his seat the past few months.
“I was really looking forward to (Michael) getting here, but to be honest it has made me a bit anxious,” David said. “Being a part of the MEF and knowing about the kinetics in the area and seeing casualty reports, I was always making sure it wasn’t my brother or his unit that was getting hit. It makes it a bit different tracking those things, especially having your twin brother out there.”
Michael is wrapping up his approximate 90-day deployment and will be headed back to Camp Pendleton in the coming days. However, until he redeploys, the brothers look forward to spending some time together.
The two enjoy being a part of the U.S. Armed Forces, and both are thinking about pursuing an officer career in their respective branches. With 15 or more years remaining in the military, it may mean many long waits before uniting again, but the bothers will always remain close. The twins will take whatever opportunity they have to talk to one another, even if it is on the other side of the world in a combat zone.