Breaking some of the ties of brotherhood can be difficult. Just ask the Castillo twins – Moises and Macario – advanced individual training privates assigned to Romeo Company, 262nd Quartermaster Battalion. The 19-year-olds from Merced, Calif., lived the typical lives of twins – dressing alike, participating in activities together and causing identify confusion in their schools and neighborhood.
However, when they graduated high school, they parted ways for roughly a year and began to develop lives removed from the one they knew as kids. Moises relocated to the Seattle area to attend college and Macario stayed behind in Merced.
August 31, 2016 - California Army National Guard Pvts. Moises and Marcario Castillo, 19-year-old twins, are Water Treatment Specialist Course students assigned to the Quartermaster School. They both plan to pursue civil engineering and boxing in college. (U.S. Army photo by Terrance Bell)
The separation bore some hard truths, said Macario.
“To be honest, you are not used to living without that person you've been living with your whole life,” he said. “You have this sense of emptiness. You wake up and you're used to seeing that person and then one day, they're gone.”
Moises said his experience being away from his brother was similar.
“When I moved out, I had to kind of do things on my own instead of talking to him and deciding what ‘we're' going to do,” he recalled of his new life.
Realizing they were friends and confidants needing more time together to sort out their relationship, they began taking about joining the Army as a way to correct an abrupt parting.
“We both agreed to join together,” said Macario. “It was an ‘if I do it, you do it' kind of thing.”
The separation had made both wiser as well. Although they did enlist during the same time period, both seemed to give more weight to making decisions based on what they both wanted and not necessarily because they were twins or shared similar interests.
“I asked him ‘Are you sure you want to join?'” recalled Macario of his brother whose collegiate opportunity was troubled by financial issues. “‘You don't have to do it if you don't want to,' and he said he still wanted to do it.”
The Castillo twins joined the California Army National Guard roughly a week apart as water treatment specialists. They attended basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and arrived here a month ago. Macario is in his seventh week of the 12-week course while Moises is in his fifth.
After AIT graduation, Moises has plans to attend community college in Washington and pursue a degree in civil engineering at the University of Washington. He also wants to pursue a spot on the school's boxing team. Macario also wants to pursue civil engineering but has not decided upon a college. He plans to box as well.
Their plans seem to be essentially the same before they joined the National Guard, but with one important difference – they have settled with the realization that a lifetime of sharing cannot be undone with sudden decisions. It takes time, thought and an appreciation for history.
“It's hard because since we were kids, we've been together,” said Moises. “Going to college will have a lot of responsibilities we need to take care of, so we won't be able to stay in touch like we use to. In high school, it was easy to just go home and talk about it. In college, you have to focus on passing and pursuing your own career.”
Macario said he is somewhat torn by the transition but deems it necessary.
“In a way I think it's actually good but it's kind of bad,” he said. “I realize you have to learn to let go and let the other person pursue his own life or else they can never pursue it as a person. It's a big step forward in our lives.”
In starting their own lives and careers, the brothers still have much in common: They are National Guardsmen pursuing the same skill, the same college major and the same sport. In the latter, it is to their liking to one day face each other in the ring.
“Since we're in the same weight class (lightweight), maybe we can eventually fight each other,” said Moises.
Given the twins' history, a boxing match would be more like a friendly reunion, tribute to old times and a toast to what lies ahead.
By Terrance Bell
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee
Provided through DVIDS
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