News: From brothers to brothers-in-arms
Story by 1st Lt. Vanessa Macekura
ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan - More often than not, a family business is a locally owned store in a small rural town, but for Army Spc. Travis Russell, that is not the case. Spc. Russell is a soldier assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Combined Task Force Raider, Third Infantry Division, who has followed in the footsteps of his older brother, 1st Lt. Timothy Russell, by joining him amongst the ranks of the U.S. Army, both brothers are natives of Norfolk, Va.
First Lt. Russell, 27, an armor officer currently assigned to Command Group, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Third Infantry Division, Regional Command South, enlisted in the Army as a private and climbed his way up the ladder to the rank of sergeant before he transitioned into Officer Candidate School and became a commissioned officer. During his time as an enlisted service member, he worked his way towards a criminal justice degree taking classes at Columbia College using the Army Tuition Assistance program. First Lt. Russell then applied for OCS with the degree completion option, so he could become an officer with the understanding that he would complete his degree. 1st Lt. Russell was previously assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st ABCT, 3rd ID, where he served as a platoon leader and a company executive officer.
Younger brother Spc. Russell, 24, an infantryman, enlisted in the Army as a private and has made his way to the rank of specialist. Currently he is working on a criminal justice degree as well; his degree however is from Trident University. Spc. Russell maintained regular email conversations with his older brother during a deployment to Iraq, and 1st Lt. Russell suggested he should relocate to Fort Stewart, Ga. Soon after, the younger brother received permanent change of station orders to Fort Stewart, Ga., bringing the brothers closer together.
“I think it is pretty cool,” said Spc. Russell. “When you need help with something you can go to someone you really know.”
1st Lt. Russell immediately added, “And when he needs something, I’m a telephone call or a helicopter ride away.”
When asked if they planned on staying in the Army, 1st Lt. Russell chimed in, “He is going to be the Sergeant Major of the Army and I will be the Chief of Staff.”
Both brothers agreed that the Army is an organization that grants them the opportunity to serve their country and to provide for their family. The strength of this nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our soldiers and the strength of these soldiers is their brotherhood.