CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq -- Pfc. Trevor G. Thuman just wanted one thing for the day he finally pinned on his lance corporal chevrons. That was for his brother, Lance Cpl. Philip E. Thuman who lives less than ten miles across town, to pin them on for him.
It only took eight vehicles laden with automatic weapons and two days of planning, but the two brothers were united for the promotion.
Trevor, a 22-year-old motor transport operator for Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, was able to have his 20-year-old brother Philip, also a motor transport operator with 2nd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment, pin on his new lance corporal chevrons during a ceremony, May 5th.
This ceremony was the first time the brothers have seen each other since arriving in country more than two months ago.
"I get really worried about him sometimes and it's hard to contact him," Trevor said. "If you even try to mail a letter between the camps 10 miles away, it takes a month and a half for the letters to get there."
Trevor said seeing his brother was a great relief.
"I have been in Okinawa for a year and haven't seen much family," he explained. "Seeing my brother in a hostile environment like this made me more at ease. He can watch my back like brothers do."
"When my brother pinned me with lance corporal, he said to me, 'The only way is up,'" Trevor said.
Philip passed on some advice as he pinned on Trevor's chevrons. It came from their father, who spent 10 years in a Marine uniform.
"Our dad always told us if you do everything right, the only way to go is up in ranks and get promoted," said Philip, who wears the Ka-Bar knife his father wore in Vietnam.
Trevor and Phillip have a family history laced with the Corps. Trevor was inspired to join after watching his younger brother graduate from boot camp.
"I wanted to see if I could handle the challenge like my brother," Trevor said.
The brothers also have a younger sister who is a military policewoman at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Both brothers believe their parents back home in Delhi, Iowa, have twice as much to worry about.
"My parents are really worried about us both being over here," Philip said. "They told me to look after my brother if I see him."
"Our dad has two company coins we each got after boot camp," Trevor explained. "While he watches the news about Marines over here, he rubs them together for good luck. He told me they are all worn down now."
Now that both Marines are wearing the same chevrons, sibling rivalry is taking precedent over rank.
"While I was a private first class, I told my brother who was a lance corporal that as long as he was in uniform I would do anything he said," Trevor said. "But as soon as I got him out in town, he's mine. Now I am a lance corporal like him."