By Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger
18th Military Police Brigade
BAGHDAD – When deploying to Iraq for the second time, the phrase 'Brothers in Arms' took on a whole new meaning for Sgt. Ray Hogan, 27, who serves as a military police Soldier with the 978th Military Police Company.
His brother, Cpl. Roland Hogan, 21, also a military police Soldier, joined the unit prior to it deploying from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Baghdad, where it conducts Police Transition Team operations with the Baghdad Iraqi police force.
"I would feel better if he was home," said Ray, of his little brother. "At least with him being in the same unit, I can make sure he is safe."
The two brothers train IP at different Joint Security Stations that are five miles apart in Baghdad.
Ray, a native of Long Branch, N.J., said because his brother is here this deployment, he has a lot more to worry about compared to his last deployment in Balad.
"Last deployment, I only had to worry about myself," said Ray, who deployed to Iraq in 2003. "This deployment, I have to worry about my squad and my little brother. It would be easier if he had a desk job."
The brothers' MP missions have them out on the dangerous streets of Baghdad on a daily basis.
"Most of the time when I role out, he is already out on the road – and that kind of worries me," said Roland.
The Hogan brothers said they try not to worry too much because they know their mom is doing enough of that already at home.
"Are mom definitely did not approve of both of us being deployed at the same time," said Ray. "We stay connected with our family the best we can while we are here so they know we are okay."
While they are out living at their respective JSSs in Baghdad, they stay communicated with each other and their family back home through the internet service that is provided at the JSS.
"We hit each other up on MySpace as much as we can. We send each other messages to make sure we are doing alright," said Ray.
The Hogan brothers said the deployment has brought them much closer than they were growing up.
"We try to do everything that we can together; we play chess and video games together when we get the chance. We have become pretty close here," said Ray. "We weren't this close growing up, but now that we are away from home, we have grown a lot closer."
Roland, who has been in the army for three years, said he joined the Army because it was something to do and that he became an MP because his brother was one.
"My brother was an MP, so I figured I would try it out," said Roland. "It has been a very rewarding experience serving with my brother."
Roland was promoted recently to the rank of corporal, and even as he closes in on becoming a sergeant, Ray said his brother is not trying to follow in his footsteps.
During the promotion ceremony, Ray was able to pin his brother and welcome the newly promoted noncommissioned officer to the Corps.
"I don't have a shadow for him to live in," said Ray, of his brother. "He is his own person."
Although they have the same last name on their uniform, they will tell you they are two very different people.
"I am the better looking one," said Ray with a smile, much to his brother's disgust. "Roland is still growing up. I am the stronger one; he is the smarter one."
Although the brothers joke with each other often, Roland said he uses his older brother as someone to go to for advice.
"I ask my brother for advice about all different kinds of things," said Roland of his brother, who is six years older. "Anything from women to help with my job, I'll ask him for advice about."
Although the brothers are not in the same squad and are separated by five miles of dangerous Baghdad streets, they take a piece of each other and their Families back home with them every time they roll out on mission.
"We have a bit of each other everywhere we go," the brothers agreed. "We know our mom is stressed out about us being over here, but we want her to know that we keep each other safe and that we will see her soon."
To their father, who they said is no stranger to war after having served for 23 years in the Marine Corps and deploying during Operation Desert Storm, they said he knows what it's like over here.
"He has been here and done it before," said Ray. "He knows what it is like and understands it."
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Cassidy, Ray's platoon leader, said he met Ray and Roland's parents prior to deploying and said he wanted them to know what a great job they had done raising their boys.
"They raised some great, well-disciplined sons, who care a lot about their Soldiers and get the job done at the same time," said Cassidy.
The 978th MP Co. is deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, and is currently assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
This work, Brothers serve together as Baghdad 'cops', by SGT Daniel Blottenberger, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.