Lance Cpl. Ana Nunez, a food service specialist with Combat Logistic
Regiment-15, 1st Marine Logistic Group (Forward), sister Lance Cpl.
Kiara Herrera, a maintenance administration clerk with Marine Light
Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward),
and Cpl. Francis Collado, a warehouse clerk with Headquarters
Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), talk outside of the
barracks before Herrera leaves for work on April 14, 2012. The three
friends enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and reunited
in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photo by USMC Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (4/17/2012) – Marines describe their
relationships with fellow Marines with words like brotherhood and
sisterhood. Many view the Corps as a family, with brothers and
sisters, mother and father figures. The way Marines take care of
each other, look after each other and even bicker with each other is
reminiscent of many families in America today.
Francis Collado, Lance Cpls. Kiara Herrera and Ana Nunez, sisterhood
is the only way to describe their bond.
Collado, a warehouse
clerk with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward),
met the sisters, Herrera and Nunez, in high school, 2007. After
enlisting in the Marine Corps, they found themselves heading to the
same geographical location.
The women, all with different
units, were stationed in Southern California. However, within a
six-month period, they all would deploy to Helmand province,
“I was surprised when I found out we'd be
deploying (at the same time),” said Nunez, food service specialist,
Combat Logistic Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistic Group (Forward).
“It made coming here a lot easier.”
Collado said she couldn't
wait for the three of them to meet again in Afghanistan.
separated ways after recruit training, and again when Herrera
deployed in October 2011. Herrera is a maintenance administration
clerk with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, 3rd Marine
Aircraft Wing (Forward).
Now, every Wednesday afternoon
around 2 pm, the women get together. Collado picks Nunez up during
their work break, and Herrera from her barracks. They drive over to
Collado's work place and spend time together until Nunez has to
return to work. They spend most their free time hanging out,
watching movies, cracking jokes and reading magazines.
“They're family to me,” added Collado. “Us all being
together, it means we're all (able to) look out for each
Collado describes it as a family barbeque
when the three women are together. The jokes and bickering
add to the family-like atmosphere.
Out here in
Afghanistan it's no different.
The three women
relaxed outside of Herrera's barracks, trying to find some
shade from the mid-afternoon sun. They talked about each
other's day, but soon an argument broke out.
and Herrera stood toe-to-toe, and the discussion turned
sour. Nunez tried to calm the situation down at first, but
knows this happens.
Collado said she felt Herrera
didn't stand up for her enough the day before.
after each explained their side of the story, it was over.
They are back to teasing one another and laughing, talking
about their work and friends.
“That's just how sister
are,” said Nunez. “We tell each other how it is, we tell
each other when we don't like something, but we are always
going to be there for each other in the end.”
and Herrera are related by blood and were raised together.
Collado met the sisters while the three of them attended
Bradford Matthew Chaloner Dufree High School in Fall River,
“I met (Collado) in Spanish class, I needed a
partner and she was smart,” Herrera, said with a grin.
After partnering in Spanish class, the two became
inseparable. They did everything together, and when Herrera
wanted to talk to a Marine recruiter, Collado was there with
“We walked in and they started asking us who we
were, where we were from...the basic recruiter questions,”
recalls Collado. “I told them I didn't want to join, I was
just here for (Herrera).”
After talking with the
recruiters for several months, Collado changed her mind, and
her and Herrera decided to enlist.
“Our decision was
made, we were going to join the Marine Corps,” said Collado.
Collado went to recruit training May 2009. A year later,
Herrera left for boot camp and a couple months after, in
September 2010, Nunez arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot,
Parris Island, too.
Now, the three of them are deployed
to Afghanistan. Herrera will be back in the United States in
a couple weeks, but right now they are enjoying seeing
familiar faces in a foreign country.
deploying with them helps me stay strong,” said Collado.
“It's nice to have someone who knows your family and knows
your history...who you can talk to.”
Herrera said she
takes comfort in knowing that her little sister, Nunez, will
be here with her best friend Collado.
“I know (Collado)
will look out for (Nunez),” said Herrera. “My sister won't
be by herself.”
The girls' families find comfort
knowing the three Marines have each other to take care of
one another through the stress of a deployment.
helps (my family) to know I'm out here with (Collado),” said
Nunez. “I know they worry about me, but knowing I have a
friend, someone (who) they know helps.”
conversation has altered again. Still standing outside
Herrera's barracks, they hug. Herrera is returning to
California in the next week, and the three of them will be
separated again. Their eyes begin to water and they say
For several weeks the three girls
were reunited in Afghanistan. A luxury they all agreed they
wouldn't take for granted.
“I'll be at both of their
home comings,” promised Herrera. “There is no trying to be
there—I will be there.”
The three friends have come a
long way from Fall River, Mass. They were reunited on the
opposite side of the world in Afghanistan and continue to
look after each other.
“We're always going to be
there for each other,” said Collado. “We'll always be
sisters no matter how far apart. We know how much we need
By USMC Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
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