AR RAMADI, Iraq -- When Warren Peugh returned home from boot camp at San Diego, Calif., he expected to meet with his two brothers and tell them all about his experience. When he got home he was surprised to find that they were in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry program awaiting to attend boot camp themselves.
The three Marines, who hail from Cerritos, Calif., have very different jobs. But no matter where they are, or what they do, their jobs all support the Global War on Terrorism.
Lance Cpl. Warren Peugh, his younger brother, Chris -- also a lance corporal, and Edward (a corporal) are by all rights -- as the saying goes -- a ‘band of brothers.’ Their one commonality is a membership to the smallest military service in the U.S.; but their differences brought them to three separate corners of that brotherhood to serve the Corps in the office, in the air and on the ground.
“When I shipped out, I guess they thought it was a good idea to follow suit,” said Warren. “After all, we’re all Eagle Scouts as well.”
Warren is a 24-year-old Nuclear Biological Chemical specialist with the 2nd Marine Division – a ground combat unit serving in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. He is also a sentry on the camp’s guard force and a common operational picture manager, updating intelligence reports and information from troops in the field for the division’s combat operations center. His unit is supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, here in western Iraq.
“I love NBC when I get the chance to do my job,” said the 1998 Ghar High School graduate. “To train us, we were put in a chamber with actual Sarin and VX nerve gasses. We had to assess where the gas came from and contain the site. It was dangerous, but it gave us the confidence to do our jobs.”
Edward is Warren’s older twin, a half an hour apart – “which means I’m more stubborn than he is,” said Warren. Edward is an administration clerk who works at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C. His job is also in support of the troops on the ground as he works in the deployment section to ensure the Marines receive the proper pay and entitlements while they’re abroad.
One year ago, he was meritoriously promoted to the non-commissioned rank of corporal. It is a coveted position in the Marines’ rank structure because the corporal is considered by many to be the backbone of leadership.
“Most Marines think of the Corps as a band of brothers – but quite literally, we are one,” said Edward. “We all have different interests and experiences, of course, which led us to different fields.
Although they are close because of their common bond, they find themselves distant due to the Corps’ operational tempo.
“We try to plan trips together like we used to do as kids, but because of the work schedules it’s tough,” said Edward. “But hopefully Warren will be back from the war and we’ll all get together in Cali’ this coming February.”
Their younger brother, Chris, is an aircraft mechanic for HMX-1, President Bush’s personal helicopter airlift. He is an airframes mechanic at Marine Corps Air Facility, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
“I thought about joining the other services, but I couldn’t let my other brothers show me up,” said Chris.
Originally, he wanted to be a diesel mechanic in the civilian sector – something that would cost him $50,000 for schooling. Now, he repairs the president’s helicopters -- working with sheet metal, Fiberglas and hydraulic components.
“I’ve been with the unit since September last year,” said Chris. “Since then, we’ve flown the president to Detroit, Chicago, L.A. and a few other places.
“The best part of this job is knowing that my service is in direct support of the president.”
Despite the three Marines all being so far away from their mother, Karen King, she supports them to the fullest. Most of all, she’s glad she brought them up to become self-sufficient. As a single mother, she couldn’t help them with college. So getting paid to learn job skills and become leaders has been more than she could have asked for.
“Warren wanted to join in high school when he was 17, but I wouldn’t sign off on it,” said King. “I thought he needed to grow up more before he went. Now, only a few years later, they’ve all grown up so much.
“When I asked them why they all joined, they just said, ‘Mom. You taught us to love God and to love our country – What else did you expect?’”