Three Brothers Deployed With 3Rd ID, Reunite In Iraq
(April 7, 2010)
|BAGHDAD (Army News Service, April 2, 2010) - Darkness falls as a Chinook helicopter lands on the rocky landing pad inside an Army camp south of here. As Soldiers walk down the ramp toward a small building close by, two sergeants stand bathed in the yellow light of the building's overhang, peering excitedly into the darkness and impatiently searching the faces coming off the aircraft. Then they both lock onto one shape coming toward them.|
|Brothers Sgt. Joshua Harrison, Spc. Justin Harrison and Sgt. Jeremiah Harrison grin for a photo on Contingency Operating Station Falcon moments after reuniting for the first time in Iraq since their deployment began four months ago. The brothers are all part of 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.|
|Whoop!" one of the Soldiers cries out as they both attack the person. All three Soldiers grin from ear to ear as they exchange greetings and bear hugs.|
The three Soldiers are brothers, and all currently deployed in Iraq. Yet this is the first time they've been together since leaving the U.S. four months ago.
Jeremiah, Joshua and Justin Harrison are all assigned to 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. The youngest brother, Spc. Justin Harrison, is deployed west of Baghdad at Camp Striker with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, and the older Harrison brothers are south of Baghdad at Contingency Operating Station Falcon.
The brothers, originally from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., began filtering into 3rd ID eight years ago when Sgt. Jeremiah Harrison, a tracked vehicle mechanic now assigned to 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, arrived right before Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003.
"At the time, I was married and things kind of went south. I was falling pretty bad and Josh came to my rescue; kind of like the brotherly thing. He reenlisted to come to Stewart to help me out," explained Jeremiah, 32.
Then three years ago, Justin, 21, joined the Army as a wheeled mechanic.
"When I first got in, I wanted a whole bunch of advice on how basic training and advanced individual training was going to be. During training I would call them up and be like, 'Hey, is regular military like this?'" Justin said.
For the past 14 years, the brothers have been raised solely by their father, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant.
"We have always been close, no matter what's happening in our family and through our life," said Jeremiah, who has deployed four times. "We talk a lot of crap about it now, but there's been a lot of ups and downs. There's always been the four guys, no matter what. And when Dad was deployed, it was the three of us. There is nothing that breaks that up."
After he graduated basic combat training, Justin found out he was going to Fort Stewart as well.
"During AIT, I wrote down on my wish list 'Fort Stewart' for my number one choice on where I wanted to go. And just by luck, I got it," he said.
Now the brothers can't imagine what life would be like without all three of them.
"The awe-inspiring thing is, when I'm driving to work and having a bad day, and I see one of them driving down the street, we can spot each other from a mile away," Jeremiah explains. "I can't believe we haven't caused any accidents yet because we just link eyes and don't pay attention to the road as we drive by. It's just awesome, I mean we call each other and go out for lunch; and it's brothers. It's not Sgt. Harrison and Sgt. Harrison anymore; it's, 'Hey, Josh, what's up?'"
Sgt. Joshua Harrison, also a tracked vehicle mechanic, who has deployed three times, agreed.
"You may need to discuss some things with friends, some things with family, but I always have my brothers there in case I need to talk to them about something."
Then the brothers look at each other and burst out laughing. They transition from talking about the closeness of their relationship to a story about a time Joshua broke his toe, with an ease only close siblings can develop.
Jeremiah begins the story with, "One of the worst things in the world when you're brothers and all three of you are in the Army: combatives."
As they continue with the story, the back-and-forth banter is nonstop as Jeremiah and Joshua argue about the details regarding the toe.
They become more serious when describing how challenging it is to get together as a family.
"We haven't had a Christmas as a family since before the Army," said Josh, 26, who is with 1st HBCT, 3rd Special Troops Battalion. "There is always some kind of a deployment or some crazy thing going on, so it's kind of kept us apart. But us being together on Stewart, the three of us, has kept us together."
Although Justin is assigned to a different base, knowing that his brothers are close has helped his first deployment in Iraq. His respect for them is evident as he talks.
"My brothers are the best noncommissioned officers I've ever met. Jeremiah sacrifices himself 100 percent for his Soldiers every day; that's my idol. If I were to become anything, I'd want to be him; and Josh is an amazing NCO, too," he said. "I haven't really talked to them much since we've been out here. We're always at work, they're always at work, so it's hard to stay in touch. But I've been trying to get over to Falcon to see them."
Jeremiah and Joshua agree that being apart has its moments of difficulty for all of them.
"I always think about how he's doing, what he's doing, if he's doing alright," Jeremiah said. "We talk a lot of crap about the youngest one, but he's the baby. We kind of support him in whatever he needs. But in the end you have to leave it up to letting things fall into place as they should."
Back at the landing pad as the Soldiers embrace, it appears that at least for a few days while Justin visits, everything actually has fallen into place for three brothers in Iraq.
Article and photo By Army Pvt. Emily V. Knitte
1st BCT, 3rd ID Public Affairs
Reprinted from Army News Service
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