News: Battle between brothers: Sibling rivalry steers soldier toward excellence
Story by Spc. Brittany Gardner
BASRAH, Iraq – Sibling rivalry isn’t always about animosity or jealousy. Sometimes it sparks healthy competitions between brothers or sisters and helps them accomplish their goals. One soldier attributes his success in the military to the rivalry between him and his brother.
Spc. Andrew C. Deason, 36th Infantry Division Special Troops Battalion strives harder for military excellence in order to out-do his older brother, a specialist in the active-duty Army.
Deason, a 21 year-old Houston native, joined the Texas Army National Guard in 2007 for a few different reasons. Many of his family members have served in the Army, including his two grandfathers and his dad, a Vietnam veteran. Sibling rivalry between him and his brother was another motive that led Deason to where he is now, serving as an Iraqi security forces knowledge management representative at Contingency Operating Base Basra.
His brother, Spc. Brian Brown, 10th Mountain Division combat medic, has also deployed to Iraq, twice. Although Deason enlisted two years after his brother, Deason claims that so far he is winning the competition between them to be the first to achieve certain military goals, such as graduating basic combat training, advanced individual training, and getting promoted.
“After he enlisted, I still considered myself better than him,” said Deason. “I told him, ‘Alright. I can do everything you do and better’. It took him two and a half years to get his [rank]. I did it in two. He went through basic training and graduated. I went to basic training and graduated an honor grad. He went to AIT and graduated honor grad., and I went to AIT and graduated the distinguished honor grad,” said Deason with a laugh.
The brothers also compete to see who can meet the highest-ranking military officials.
“When it comes to meeting people,” said Deason, “I’ve got him beat so far. He’s met Gen. Austin. He’s met the chief of staff. Me, I’ve met Gen. Austin, the chief of staff, and the sergeant major of the Army. So, I’m a little ahead of him so far.”
During Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III’s visit to COB Basra, Deason was presented with a coin for excelling in his mission here in support of Operation New Dawn. While handing him the coin, Chandler complimented Deason on his demeanor.
“He said that I have one of those personalities that just makes you want to be around me,” Deason explained. “Since I’ve been here I’ve heard that a lot more than I thought I would. I guess because I seem friendly, and I’ve always got a smile on.”
Deason said he has heard similar compliments from many soldiers throughout his deployment. He finds it’s a lot easier to smile even if he is having a bad day, because he doesn’t see the point in bringing other people down with him.
“Spc. Deason is an invaluable part of our section,” said Sgt 1st Class James R. Gifford, Iraqi security forces section non-commissioned-officer-in-charge.“He has a great personality and his positivity promotes a higher level of morale in our section daily. He is one of those people whose persona makes it difficult for you to have a bad day. He has an extremely strong work ethic and continues to search for ways to improve through both civilian and military education, as well as daily experiences and others jobs.”
With the support he receives from soldiers and his family, including his brother, keeping a positive attitude comes easy, Deason said.
“My mom goes along with whatever I do,” said Deason. “As long as it’s nothing negative, she’s cool with it. My dad is really proud because he’s a Vietnam veteran. He really didn’t expect me to go to the military and stuff. He always thought I’d be the quick little college kid ‘cause he always had this thing about me being a pretty boy. So, I had a little bit to prove.”
The rivalry between him and his brother keeps Deason motivated to accomplish his goals, but he also attributes his drive to succeed as just being part of his personality.
“Me, I like being the guy on top,” Deason said with a grin. “And, if all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it.”