Unique Journey Of Siblings Into The Army
by U.S. Army Christopher Wilson
September 17, 2023
The U.S. Army is known for forging bonds that last a lifetime, but for two siblings ... that bond was already in place before they set foot on the training grounds.
Meet 19-year-old PFC Talon Denman and his younger sister, 18-year-old PFC Lillian Denman, the rare brother-sister duo currently undergoing training together for the 13M Rocket System (MLRS/HIMARS) Crewmember role at Fort Sill.
September 7, 2023 - U.S. Army PFC Talon Denman, left, and his younger sister, 18-year-old PFC Lillian Denman, a rare brother-sister duo currently undergoing training together for the 13M Rocket System (MLRS/HIMARS) Crewmember role at Fort Sill, prepare to inspect a piece of equipment their learning to operate in training. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Christopher Wilson.)
Hailing from Shepherd, Michigan, the Denmans, born just 11 months apart, graduated high school in 2022. Their journey into the Army began when Lillian, after some encouragement from their father, met with an Army National Guard Recruiter. The spark of military service didn't stop with her. During the recruiter's visit, their father nudged Talon into the conversation, leading him to also enlist in the National Guard.
Lillian's decision to join was driven by her desire for direction and discipline, something she believed the Army would instill in her. On the other hand, Talon, a high school wrestling star, had aspirations of attending college on a wrestling scholarship.
However, financial constraints led him to the Army ... as a means to fund his education.
Their paths converged unexpectedly when choosing their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Lillian was first to pick, drawn to the 13M MOS with the candid rationale of wanting to "blow stuff up." Days later, Talon, unaware of his sister's choice and initially considering a role with transferrable civilian skills, also gravitated towards the 13M MOS, seeking a unique Army experience.
Although the duo intended to start basic training together at Fort Sill, scheduling nuances meant Lillian began a few days earlier. Their paths crossed on Sundays during church services, a brief respite in their rigorous training schedules.
James Stowers, the lead 13M instructor, spoke highly of the Denmans. "It's a rarity to train siblings in the same class," Stowers remarked. "They have a typical sibling dynamic, but they also extend their familial camaraderie to their peers." Lillian's leadership qualities shone through early on, earning her the position of Class Leader.
Pvt. Ethan Braley, a fellow trainee, shared his observations of the Denman siblings. "They have that typical sibling banter, with Talon often trying to guide Lillian, who sometimes sees it as mere annoyance. But when it comes down to it, they work well together and have incredible energy," Braley noted.
As the Denmans approach the end of their training, they look forward to serving together in the same National Guard unit back in Michigan. While Talon envisions a future blending civilian work with his Army role, Lillian contemplates a long-term career in active duty.
"Their story showcases the varied journeys that bring individuals to the Army and highlights the special bonds that are created and deepened during service," said Stowers.
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