By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – Not often are siblings given the opportunity to deploy together, especially to such a unique place as Joint Task Force Guantanamo, but it's even less likely for siblings to promote one another.
However, Army Capt. Pedro Pomales, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battery 2-162nd Field Artillery unit, and younger brother Spc. Pedro Pomales-Alverio were given this opportunity during a promotion ceremony, Dec. 8, when Pomales-Alverio was promoted to sergeant.
"It was a great honor to promote him," said Pomales. "It feels really good to see one of my loved ones go up in the non-commissioned officers corps."
Back in Puerto Rico, the brothers are in different units, but when Pomales became the commander and discovered that the unit was short on personnel, he asked Pomales-Alverio to be one of his riflemen.
"One day my brother asked me if I wanted to go with him to Cuba, and I said 'yes,'" said Pomales-Alverio. "This was going to be the first time I deployed with him and it sounded too good to miss."
Pomales-Alverio's name was on the promotion list in Puerto Rico, but it was the dedication and knowledge for his job that got him promoted.
"It's feels great [to become a NCO]. I now have more responsibilities in taking care of the younger Soldiers in my unit and setting a good example for them," said Pomales-Alverio.
Pomales-Alverio also commented on how he felt about being promoted by his brother.
"It's both an honor and a privilege, because it is kind of difficult to be in the same unit with a brother who is the commander," said Pomales-Alverio. "But then I think how this is going to be the first and last time this will happen because when we get back to Puerto Rico, we will go to different units."
The overriding factor for this opportunity to come in the Pomales family was the extensive family history with the military. It started when their grandfather joined the military followed by three uncles who also served. Their father was in the service for 42 years and constantly expressed the benefits and experiences of joining the military. This resulted in Pomales, Pomales-Alverio and their older brother joining the military and, later on, all serving their country in the global war on terrorism.
"Since I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be like my father when I grew up," said Pomales. "I used to wear his Battle Dress Uniforms and equipment around the house."
Pomales added, "I joined first just for the curiosity and also because my dad was asking me."
The deployment of HHSB 2-162 FA to Guantanamo Bay concludes in January. The unit will return to Puerto Rico, ending the brother's only deployment together.
"This has been an outstanding year," said Pomales. "My Soldiers are a group of professionals, no matter the rank. So I'm really thankful to be the commander of this unit for this deployment."