CAMP RIPPER, Iraq --
Hometown values are prominent in these two Schuylkill County, Pa., natives.
The odds of two people from the same small county near Philadelphia working side by side in a foreign country are odds many people wouldn’t bet on.
However, Sgt. Anthony J. Liptok and Maj. Chip F. Hall, both from Schuylkill County, are currently deployed here together with Regimental Combat Team 5.
“(Our towns) are less than two miles away from each other, and we don’t come across Marines that often know where they are, let alone work together,” said Liptok, 22, who is from Pottsville, Pa.
The two Marines didn’t find out they were from the same area until someone asked how to spell one of their hometowns and they both quickly answered.
“We didn’t find out that we were from the same hometown till just recently,” said Liptok, who is the training noncommissioned officer in charge, RCT-5.
“He is the second or third person I have come across in the military that knows where the cities are,” said Hall, who is from Schuylkill Haven, Pa.
Although deployed for a year, they still reminisce about the things that unite both their communities.
“The volunteer firefighters have block parties all summer long, which brings our communities together,” said Hall, 37, who is the future operations and plans officer, RCT-5. “And Yuengling beer, can’t forget that.”
Coming from such a small area, their communities share many of the same likenesses and are high school basketball rivals.
“All the high school sports bring the community together; our high school teams usually end up in state tournaments,” said Hall. “We play each other in basketball; that’s a rivalry on and off the court.”
Much time was spent reminiscing about their homes, but the conversation turned quickly to the hometown values that have been instilled in both of them since they were children.
“The same hard work that got me ahead there, is getting me ahead here,” said Hall.
“I definitely agree; there’s no doubt about that,” added Liptok.
The pride in their hometowns is apparent in both Marines.
“It’s a great town and area to be from; the positive influence from coaches and teachers is really (great). I had a hard time finding that after I left,” said Hall.
“I’m proud to be from that area,” said Hall with Liptok nodding in agreement.