By Spc. Courtney Marulli
2nd Brigae Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – When tragedy strikes it can change a person. It can make them depressed, anxious or angry, but it can also make them stronger than they were before. For two Army brothers, tragedy literally brought them together and made them each a better Soldier.
Amarillo, Texas, natives Pfc. Trevor D. York, and his younger brother, Spc. Keith A. York, were able to spend time with one another when Trevor traveled to Camp Liberty to see his brother during his recovery from a wound received in a firefight.
Trevor is a topographic analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and his brother is a team leader with C Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
One night, their mother e-mailed Trevor, informing him Keith had been shot. Trevor said he was constantly worried, as there wasn't much information to go on at that time. He knew Keith was alive and that was all that mattered.
Keith and his unit were carrying out combat missions when he was shot in the upper left leg. He was taken to safety by his fellow Soldiers.
Trevor had some trouble going to see his brother, but with the help of his chain of command, he was able to be by his brother's side.
"When I first saw him he was on crutches," Trevor said.
The first question Trevor asked was how Keith was feeling.
"He said he was physically fine, but was having some bad dreams," Trevor said. "Every time he went to sleep he kept seeing the bullet go through his leg in his sleep."
The bullet missed Keith's femoral artery by about six inches, which spared his life.
"Well, it was really motivating when I was able to see him because I was quite down on myself after the whole incident," Keith said.
Having his brother there helped Keith actually sleep.
"He said the first night I was there was the first time he got a good night's sleep," Trevor said.
Using a chair next to Keith's bed, Trevor slept until Keith moved his feet off the bed so both brothers could have an edge to rest on.
Trevor has been in the Army for four years and Keith for almost two. Both brothers are natives of Amarillo, Texas, and decided they need to serve their country before they really settled down, and decided what they wanted to do with their lives. Both brothers have college in their future.
"I thought my personality and skills would excel in the Army and I thought the discipline would be really good for me," Keith said.
That discipline and training is what makes each brother confident about having the other in combat.
Keith said he doesn't really know how it feels for them to be deployed at the same time, but he knows it stresses out their mother.
Trevor said being deployed at the same time makes him nervous because he knows what his brother does being an infantryman.
"My mom is stressed, stays stressed," Trevor said. "My dad doesn't worry about us too much. My mom is very stressed out. He knows we know what we're doing. He stays strong so our mom doesn't have to."
The time they spent together was restricted to Keith's room, but they talked and just enjoyed being able to see one another. But, as both Yorks are avid sports fans, the conversation would go from Keith's injury to the latest statistics and plays of their favorite teams.
Despite being injured, Keith said he is not apprehensive about going back outside the wire.
"I will proudly return to doing my job once I am fully recovered," he said.
Being injured is not something Soldiers want to experience, but with that experience comes knowledge that they can in turn use to help others going through a similar situation.
Keith said his injury actually reinforced the training his unit had received.
"Well, it was one of the scariest events of my life, but everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do so in a way, I think it helped them to know that all of our training wasn't for nothing and they properly remembered what to do," he said. "I take pride in knowing that I am here with people who know what to do when something like that happens."
Trevor said he has gained valuable knowledge of how to deal with a sibling that has been injured. He said just being an ear to listen to them is one of the biggest contributions one can make, but he also said to tell them to talk to a chaplain about how they feel.
Keith isn't the only one who was changed by his injury.
"It's made me ... want to seize the day," Trevor said. "Live like it's your last. Carpe diem."
This work, Brothers in Arms: Two brothers, one injury, a lot of healing, by SPC Courtney Marulli, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.