CAMP MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq -- Lance Cpl. Andres F. Lasso-Hurtado has a lot on his mind when he comes back from a six-hour patrol.
Hurtado is with Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Blue, a quick reaction force with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. Often the team pushes through rifle and rocket fire only to encounter improvised explosive devices on the road. This leaves the Marines dealing with a lot of stress. Andres has someone better than a psychologist he can talk to when he gets back. He has his brother, Lance Cpl. Louis A. Lasso-Hurtado.
The two brothers joined the Marine Corps months apart and both are assigned to Weapons Company. Andres was the first to join, followed by Louis.
Andres was glad to have his brother by him when he was wounded by a roadside bomb recently. His brother was right there by his side from the moment he arrived at the medical facilities.
"All I was thinking was 'I want to kill the men who did this to him,'" Louis said. "I wanted to see if he was OK first and I was upset I couldn't do much to help except to be there for him."
There are few things more comforting than family after experiencing the chaos of a combat zone.
"Sometimes the phones and Internet don't work here, so I can't talk to the folks back home," said Andres, a 21-year old from Cali, Columbia. "I've always got my brother, Louis, to talk to here."
Both of the brothers attempted to join the military in their native country of Columbia but were turned away. They found a home instead with the U.S. Marines.
"One of our cousins was killed in the attacks on 9-11. That - combined with our dad wanting us out on our own - made it the best decision," said Louis, the older of the two at 23 and a mortarman with the unit. "We both liked weapons and no one else in our family had ever been in the Marine Corps."
In addition the two brothers share a cousin: Lance Cpl. Jamie Hurtado Correa, a rifleman with Company G, in the same battalion. Jamie hails from New York City.
"When we went to boot camp we would meet in the chapel every Sunday and talk to find out how things were going," Louis explained. "We graduated boot camp and the School of Infantry at different times but somehow we both ended up at 2/2."
The brothers found themselves in Weapons Company where they lived in adjoining barracks rooms. Both of them enjoyed spending weekends together, although they would see little of each other during the day.
"We'd never stay around Camp Lejeune. We'd go to Florida together a lot," Louis added. "Me and my brother have always been really close and that carries out here."
They still wish they could be closer.
"Our folks worry about us and we worry about each other too, hoping nothing happens while Andres is out on patrol," Louis said.
The brothers live right next to each other and pay visits between the patrols.
"It would be worse for them if they were both in theatre in different units," said Gunnery Sgt. Barry R. Bartasavich, a 37-year-old CAAT platoon sergeant. "They'd always be worried about each other."
Bartasavich noticed the brothers' strong family bond.
"I can count on them to do something when they're told," said Bartasavich, from Dubois, Pa. "I believe they came from a well-structured family to be that way."
Louis explained he's always worried something will happen to his brother. Still, being able to see him helps a lot.
"It's great that we're in the same company, but it'd be better if we were in the same platoon," Andres said. "That way we could keep an eye out for each other."
Their occupational specialties keep them separated during the day. Many would consider it a good breather for the family members, but these brothers don't get sick of each other.
"We used to fight a lot at home, but now we don't fight at all," Louis said. "We're really close now."