CAMP RIPPER, Iraq --
While deployed, Marines often depend on phone calls and e-mails to keep in contact with their families. Some Marines however, can find themselves separated from a loved one by just a few miles.
“I didn’t know exactly where we were going, but I knew my brother was going to al Asad, then I found out we were going to al Asad; I was pretty thrilled. I mean; when do you get to deploy and see your brother?” said Cpl Mark Thiry, a vehicle commander with Regimental Combat Team 8’s Personal Security Detail.
The Chattanooga native’s brother, Sgt. Jeremiah “Jeremy” Thiry, is an air frame mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. “I’m glad he’s here,” said Jeremy. “It’s like having a little bit of home here with me.”
Although Mark is stationed near his brother, it took a little work for him to finally find him. “When I first got here, I didn’t know where he was. I told my buddies I was going to find my brother, I asked around and finally found him sleeping in his room,” said Mark.
In most instances the younger brother follows the path of the older brother but these two were a little different. Mark went off to recruit training in April 2004 in pursuit of becoming a Marine, and in September, Jeremy, who is three years older than his brother, also answered the call to serve his country.
“When I graduated it was kind of a shock. I lost about 70 pounds and I wasn’t lazy anymore. I like to think I inspired him,” said Mark.
Jeremy said that seeing his brother graduate from recruit training made him realize that joining the Marine Corps would give him the challenge he wanted.
The Marine Corps offered a little more to these brothers than just a challenge, it gave them the chance to develop their personal relationship. “I was in good with my oldest brother, but Jeremy and I were pretty much at each other’s throat when we were younger, but the Marine Corps has definitely brought us closer,” said Mark.
“It gives us something to relate over, both of us can understand the things we go through within the Marine Corps,” said Jeremy. “Friendship is saying ‘me too,’ and we definitely say that more now.”
Trina Thiry, Mark and Jeremy’s mother, said, “The Marine Corps has given them that sort of common ground; like going through boot camp, you know there’s nothing like that.”
While the two brothers have grown closer as a result of their Marine Corps careers, their sibling rivalry has not faded away. “There’s always going to be that brotherly competition,” said Jeremy.
“Growing up we had the little-brother big-brother fights so I would say that we definitely try to outdo each other,” said Mark. Their mother described them as always wanting to show each other who was better.
Outside of their ongoing sibling rivalry, Mark and Jeremy hold a great deal of respect and admiration for each other.
“He really cares about people and their well being, and he’s not self-consumed. He’s a genuinely compassionate person,” said Jeremy without hesitation.
“He’s driven in what he does; he’s had a lot of life experiences so he’s really able to help people fix their problems. Maybe it’s just me but I think he can fix anything,” said Mark.
For some servicemembers their computer screens and phone receivers are as close as they’ll ever get to their loved ones while deployed. The Thiry brothers on the other hand, have been able to enjoy each other’s company while deployed, as well as strengthen their relationship through their experiences in the Marine Corps.
For more information on the ongoing mission in Iraq’s Al-Anbar province, visit http://www.mnf-west.usmc.mil.