Colorado Springs Siblings Reunite In Afghanistan
(June 5, 2011)
Sgt. Judy Hunziker,
left, a maintenance administration clerk with
Marine Attack Squadron 513, and her brother U.S.
Army Sgt. George Hunziker, an infantryman with
2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, stand
together at the boardwalk in Kandahar Airfield,
Afghanistan, June 1, 2011. The last time the two
saw each other was on pre-deployment leave in
Colorado Springs, Colo.
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (MCN - 6/3/2011)
— When Sgt. Judy Hunziker, a maintenance
administration clerk with Marine Attack Squadron
513, last saw her brother, she was on
pre-deployment leave in the comfort of her
hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo.
with any military goodbye, it could have been
anyone's guess as to when the siblings would see
each other again. But fate, and in this case the
U.S. military, had that particular moment
Hunziker and her brother George,
a U.S. Army sergeant who serves as an
infantryman with the 2nd Brigade of the 4th
Infantry Division, reunited at Kandahar Airfield
in Afghanistan, May 30.
Judy, a U.S.
Marine deployed with her squadron to Kandahar,
said she was shocked when she found out her
brother was coming to the airfield, en route to
a combat outpost in Kandahar province.
“I've always joked that if I saw my brother
here, that I didn't care who was in front of me,
I'd push them out of my way,” she said. “It was
overwhelming, seeing a face I saw every day
growing up, in a country a world away. It felt
like a piece of home.”
didn't have to knock anyone down to greet her
brother. Instead she greeted him with a hug.
“It's kind of touching, to be honest with you,” said Army
Spc. David Gose, a fellow infantryman and friend of
George's. “When they saw each other, she hugged him, for
like five minutes, and wouldn't let go. Sgt. Hunziker asked
every Marine he saw where she was located; he was on a
mission to find her while we were here.”|
Even if the
Hunzikers didn't wear matching nametags, it'd be hard not to
deduce the two are siblings. While Judy is the more
talkative of the pair, both wear a warm smile to compliment
friendly eyes and are quick to laugh.
siblings come from a military family, with a father who
served in the Army as a mortarman for 12 years and a
grandfather who served as a Naval officer.
George and Judy said their family history was a significant
factor in their decision to join the military.
father is my role model,” said George. “I wanted to follow
our family's military history.”
“I wanted to be like
my father, but decided to join a different branch,” she
said. “My father, he tells us every day, he reminds us how
proud he is, he also likes to thank us for our service.”
Even so, the two said it was a surprise to all when they
enlisted. George had long hair with braids while Judy
described herself as “a free spirit liberal arts student who
hated the military.”
“After I went to George's boot
camp graduation at Fort Benning, Ga., I had an epiphany,”
Brother and sister mostly smiled during
their reunion, but they were also acutely aware of the roles
they play in Afghanistan. Recently, their brother, another
soldier, was sent home from deployment with an injury he
sustained in a vehicle roll-over. George wears a bracelet in
memory of fellow soldiers who have paid the ultimate price
in combat, “gone but not forgotten”, as he put it.
George said goodbye to his sister in the predawn hours of
June 2, when Kandahar Airfield was finally quiet enough to
allow such affairs. Judy expects them to laugh together
again next year.
“Now that I've seen him, I feel
physically safer,” said Judy. “He told me the day he was
leaving for Afghanistan he felt he couldn't protect me
anymore. I told him he was in my strongest thoughts, and
that he anything he could do as a soldier, I felt I could do
as a Marine.”
Article and photo by USMC Pfc. Sean Dennison|
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd)
Marine Corps News
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