COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq --
It’s common for Marines to refer to each other as brothers-in-arms, but the esprit de corps might just be stronger between two Marines who are actually full-blooded brothers serving in the same unit.
Lance Corporals Kloyce E. Dennard and Nicholas P. Dennard, both scouts with Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, have stuck together as Marines all the way through boot camp to reserve drill weekends to deploying with their company.
Delta Co. is a reserve light armored reconnaissance element attached to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s inevitable that when he’s there, I’m there,” said Nicholas. “We’ve always ended up doing everything together, whether it was deploying or spending time at home.”
Kloyce, 22 and Nicholas, 20 were born on different sides of the International Dateline while raised in a Marine family by their father, Lt. Col. Ronald K. Dennard, and mother, Ruby. Moving from station to station, in places like Hawaii and Okinawa, they kept their bond throughout their childhood.
“When we were younger, times were tough with the moving, but me and Nick stuck together through it all,” said Kloyce. “During my childhood, I didn’t always have friends, but I always had my brother.”
After Kloyce graduated high school, the brothers’ relationship became distant for the first time in their lives. While Kloyce was attending junior college, he was faced with hardships, forcing him to drop classes and work full time.
Kloyce was working his way through a dead end job until hearing his brother was joining the Marine Corps Reserve. He decided then that he wanted to join the service he was meant for, along with his brother.
“When my brother was talking about the Marine Corps, I knew it was time for me to join,” said Kloyce. “I always knew I was going to join, I just didn’t know when.”
“The Marine Corps was everything I knew,” said Nicholas. “I always wanted to be able to say ‘I’m a Marine.’”
In December 2005 the brothers signed up together at the recruiting station in Richmond, Va. Only a month after they enlisted, they were on their way to Parris Island, S.C. They arrived and were greeted with an awakening that would change their lives forever.
During their term at boot camp, the brothers were in separate platoons but ran into each other on many occasions. They rallied in events, from performing a physical fitness test to throwing down in a contest of pugil sticks.
“When my brother and I fought in pugil sticks, it was not like fighting (just) any person because it was a grudge match,” said Nicholas said while laughing with Kloyce. “I won from a jab to the face.”
“I remember during the PFT, Nick gave me a high-five during the run portion,” said Kloyce. “It made me laugh and I got my butt chewed by my drill instructor for smiling.”
The new Marines continued serving together through the school of infantry, and they checked into Bravo Company, 4th LAR, at the same time. They transferred to Delta Co. to volunteer to deploy to Iraq, where they would become closer than ever.
“How brothers are back at home are a lot different than how we are,” said Nicholas. “We constantly are there to look out for each other and because of this deployment, it has made us really close.”
Now deployed with Delta Co., they are regarded by their fellow Marines as great Marines and are always ready for the mission despite the costs.
“The Dennard brothers display a great positive energy for the other Marines in the company and are highly respected amongst their peers,” said 1st Sgt. Kevin J. Gilligan, company first sergeant of Delta Co. “As brothers they are always looking out for their other brothers: their fellow Marines and sailors.”
Despite confidence in the combat readiness they’ve gained while training with their unit, they still can’t help but worry about each other. Although it can be stressful worrying about one another, they feel normal serving together in Iraq at the same time.
“It was like he and I were going on a little trip to a far away place,” said Nicholas. Kloyce added, “The only difference is that I’m worried that something might happen to him if we receive contact.”
Nick and Kloyce plan to return to the States and pursue careers in either fire fighting or police work around Mechanicsville, Va., where they currently reside. The Marines say they’re going to remain close no matter what the future may hold.
“Joining the Marine Corps made us better friends and we became as close as brothers could get,” said Kloyce. “The first time he and I went outside the wire together, it was exciting to have him there.”