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Deployment makes for family reunion

1 Apr 2006 | Cpl. Brian Reimers

The Torrey brothers didn’t exactly choose the same exotic, foreign location to catch up on old times.  The Marine Corps took care of all that when the two Springfield, Mass., brothers met up here.

The two Marines met up when Lance Cpl. Justin D. Torrey, 23, assigned to 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment arrived to take over for his younger brother, Lance Cpl. James M. Torrey, 19, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.  The two battalions are swapping out duties in Fallujah with Regimental Combat Team 5.

It was the first time the two have seen each other in more than seven months.

“I heard a while ago that his battalion might be coming out here to replace us,” said James.  I didn’t believe it until I saw a few friends of his who confirmed it.”

The two found one another in the middle of the night and greeted each other with a hug and smiles. Past stories were immediately recalled by one as the other added details.  It was as if the two young men never missed a moment apart.

“It seems like they were right back together in the states,” Lance Cpl. Carl L. Alves said, a good friend of Justin’s. “It was great to see them finally together. Justin has been talking about hoping to see his brother for a long time now.”

Justin has seemed to keep himself right behind his brother’s schedule throughout their Marine Corps careers.  The younger James enlisted first, paving the way for his older brother to follow.

“It’s funny how ironic it is that my brother is falling into my footsteps again because this isn’t the first time,” James said. “He has been right behind me since I got out of boot camp.”

With a little help from his younger brother, Justin decided to become a Marine.

“I had always wanted to be in the military, but I did not want to stop doing my job at home right away,” Justin explained.  “I joined the Marine Corps Reserves after my brother came home from boot camp and helped convince me to do it.”

The two share a lot of common history, albeit separated by a few months.  They share the same recruit training company.  At the School of Infantry, one was trailing the other by class dates.

Both brothers agreed there was a bit of luck involved with still getting to see each other, even while they are both deployed.

“The Marine Corps has actually allowed us to see each other more often than we would usually,” James said. “Seeing each other has worked out pretty well.”

Marines who serve with Justin are enjoying his brother’s company as they prepare to swap places.

“It has helped out the Marines here being able to talk to James about what has happened during his time here,” Alves said. “It has been a ‘reality-check’ for us to listen to his brother tell us how things are going out here.”

The connection is more than just Marines swapping seas stories, though.  The time together here, although short, gave James a perspective into the times and hardships his brother endured while deployed.

“It’s been kind of nice to hear all the stories and see pictures of my brother with all his friends here,” James added. “It keeps me posted on what he has been up to since the last time we saw each other.”

Still, the time is short.  At one end of the camp, James packed to redeploy to Camp Lejeune, N.C. At the other, Justin prepared for his first missions outside the safety of the base camp.