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Marine service is a family tradition for deployed brothers

15 Jul 2004 | Sgt. Jose E. Guillen

The Dilling family might just be out to redefine Marine brotherhood, with a father and three sons in uniform.  Two of the brothers are deployed to Iraq.

The oldest of three sons, Lance Cpl. Anthony Dilling is an infantryman, the middle, Lance Cpl. Andrew Dilling, is an intelligence analyst and the third, Lance Cpl. Michael Dilling is a communications Marine like their father, a MSgt. Donovan Dilling, stationed at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va.

The youngest brother, 18-year-old Michael, is stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

But for Anthony and Andrew, being deployed to Iraq a second time has especially bonded their relationship.

"War has brought us closer because we now have certain things only we can talk about," said Andrew, the 19-year-old middle brother assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Their bond became even tighter when the oldest brother, Anthony, was wounded soon after Andrew was temporarily assigned to his battalion to help in their intelligence section. Anthony was shot in the shoulder while driving near a tactical checkpoint just outside Fallujah.

"We've always been close, but after being deployed here twice and me getting shot, it made us a lot closer," said Anthony, a 20-year-old infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion , 1st Marine Regiment.

"It scares me that he's here, but I think it scared him more when I got shot," Anthony said.

Anthony doted on his younger siblings, hoping they wouldn't deploy to Iraq. 

"I initially didn't want either of them to come out here because Fallujah is a bad place," he said.  "Then I heard Michael would be coming out here soon and wasn't too happy about that, but we go where the Marine Corps wants to send us.

"We deployed together last year, but this year it seems a little easier because we can see each other more often," said Andrew, who's based at another camp less than two miles away.

"It's cool that he lives near by because I was allowed to work at Anthony's battalion S-2 shop," added Andrew.

Anthony explained his father never really influenced them to join, rather it was the enjoyment his father had in his profession. 

"I always saw how much fun my dad had as a Marine - plus I wanted a challenge," said Anthony said. "It was up to me to join, but he was happy when I did."

Still, military service is a bit of tradition among the Dillings.

"My grandpa was in the Navy and my great uncle was a Marine in Vietnam," said Anthony.

Anthony and Andrew are scheduled to return home later this year.

Anthony is currently still recovering from his wounds and is expected to return to his platoon.

"He's a good Marine who doesn't like sitting on the sideline while his platoon is out helping secure the highways," said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Siironen, the 34-year-old company gunnery sergeant for Company F, from Duluth, Minn.

Anthony is serving his third year of his enlistment, while Andrew his second and Michael on his first year.