Two brothers were reunited while deployed to Afghanistan. The reunion took place in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when one brother traveled from his base at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, during a public affairs visit.
Seaman David Vermillion, 22, culinary specialist, attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, and Army Pfc. Matthew Vermillion, 24, attached to the 4th Engineer Battalion are currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Both find themselves serving in the culinary specialty field in their respective services and assigned to engineer units.
Matthew Vermillion is a food service specialist in the Army, yet he rarely cooks on deployment. He has been doing a lot of construction work and route clearance missions with his battalion. As a Navy Culinary Specialist attached to the Seabees, David Vermillion performs a variety of duties related to his field, including cooking for British forces at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
Although the brothers grew up together and both are enlisted members of the armed services, they have not been in contact for the past couple years.
"We haven't been close for many years," said David Vermillion. "It's awesome to see what he is doing now and how much he has changed in the Army."
David and Matthew were born in Arlington, Texas, and have an 18-year-old younger brother. When they were children, David said they did the typical brother stuff, but as a teenager Matthew was introduced to the wrong crowd. That's when the relationship between Matthew and his family began to suffer.
"I moved out of my parent's house when I was 16," said Matthew Vermillion. "I wanted nothing to do with any of them; I just wanted to get away. I was one of those kinds of kids; I didn't even finish high school."
Matthew moved to Michigan to live with his uncle. He thought getting away from the bad influence of his friends would change things. However, once in Michigan, he eventually ended up with the wrong crowd again.
"We went several years without even talking on the phone. When we did, we would just argue," said David Vermillion. "We eventually just stopped hearing from each other and lost touch all together."
After several years of hard lessons and tough love, Matthew decided it was time to make a change. When he learned that his wife was three months pregnant, he enlisted in the Army, July 24, 2007.
"The Army paid for my GED and gave me great training and discipline. I finally got away from all the partying and straightened out my life," said Matthew Vermillion. "The military helped me to do that."
Matthew said that the military has given him a new perspective and a sense of pride and duty. The Army has also given him practical skills, such as cooking and construction.
"When I first deployed to Afghanistan I didn't understand why we came, but now I'm glad we're here. We are fighting for their freedom instead of waiting to have to defend ours," said Matthew Vermillion. "If the tables were turned, I would want someone to help us out."
David enlisted in the Navy, Dec. 16, 2008. Although, he didn't ask to be a cook or to be attached to the Seabees, he has enjoyed the experience and is proud to serve his country along side his older brother. He believes the military has helped bring them together.
David and Matthew are both planning to enroll and complete college courses using military tuition assistance programs while they are on active duty. Once their enlistments are up, both share the goal of completing their bachelor degrees using their GI Bill benefits. David wants to study marine biology and Matthew wants to become a wildlife conservation officer.
Both brothers were very thankful for the opportunity to be reunited and agreed to try to take leave together when they get back home. David said he really wants to meet his niece and nephew for the first time and to catch up with his older brother some more.
This work, Brothers-in-Blood Reunited Brothers-in-Arms, by PO1 Michael Lindsey, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.