TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - Many people say that to serve in the military is to be a part of a brotherhood. Bonds are forged in the fire of war that are just as strong as those of blood family. For two Indiana Army National Guard soldiers serving in Multi National Base Tarin Kot, that bond of brotherhood is more than a metaphor.
Spc. Nathanael LaCorte and Staff Sgt. Samuel LaCorte are brothers both serving with the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, in Afghanistan, where they both work to support their command by providing battlefield awareness and knowledge of the operating environment.
The LaCorte brothers have a large family with many members claiming military service, to include a grandfather who fought in WWII.
"I joined the military a little over a year ago," Nathanael said.
"My family has always been really patriotic so that was a big part of
why I wanted to join the military," said Nathanael. "But another major reason was that I have four other siblings in the military."
The need to serve is a familiar trait for the LaCorte family.
"My oldest brother was active Navy; he is now in the reserve. My oldest sister is in the Army Reserve, I have a brother in the Air National Guard, and then obviously I have my brother who is here with me," said Nathanael.
"Obviously deploying with my younger brother is a huge plus. It's always good to have someone there from home that you can talk to," said Samuel.
The Shared experiences of serving overseas have given the two brothers a powerful bond.
"We are closer now than we have ever been," said Samuel. "I have always looked at Nate as my kid brother but now I see him more as a soldier and a man."
The younger sibling shared his older brother's sentiments.
"He is very good at his job and a good mentor. I am learning a lot from him," said Nathanael. "He is always there to support me and helps me not miss the rest of my family so much."
Both brothers have already advanced quickly with their military careers; rising in rank rapidly for the short time they have been in the service.
"I just want to say how proud I am of my brother. He has put forth so much effort to be a good Soldier and he motivates me to be better myself," Samuel said.
Samuel, who sets the example for his younger brother and has been in the Army Nation Guard for just over five years, has long felt the drive and desire to serve his nation.
"After 9/11 happened, I was seventeen at the time, I remember looking at my older brother and saying, 'I need to do something about this someday,'" said Samuel. "That feeling of duty stayed with me, and several years later I enlisted in the National Guard."
"It is a huge deal to me to be able to serve. I feel like we have a
really great country so I feel good to give something back," Samuel
That sense of duty has carried Samuel to serve in his civilian work as well where he works to support law enforcement.
Together the brothers support and learn from each other, but they give all the credit to their parents.
"Our parents taught us to have a really good work ethic and we are both very motivated to succeed and exceed the standard," Samuel said.
Just as they drive each other to succeed, the brothers spoke on how their family back home motivates them.
"I love my whole family a great deal. They have been so supportive of us over here by sending packages and letters. I think that we couldn't be nearly as effective without their support," said Samuel.
"I really miss them and being away from them this long makes me realize how special they are and how great it is to have them," Nathanael said.
Serving overseas brings soldiers closer together, but it also gives a
perspective that those who don't serve will never see.
"This deployment has been really good. It's been a great learning
experience, and I think being deployed gives you a good view on the world and what's going on in it," Nathanael said.
Serving together has already brought them closer and that bond will continue to shape them for the duration of their tour.
Together the two brothers are gaining valuable experiences that will
serve them both personally and professionally as they continue to
dedicate themselves to a service that goes beyond self.