CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Marines deployed to areas overseas must deal not only with the high-stress and hurried pace of their operations, but also with the strain of leaving their families behind.
Two Marine brothers currently conducting combat operations in separate parts of Al Anbar Province, Lance Corporals John and Peter Dayton, of Victoria, Va., recently got the opportunity to re-unite and spend time with each other at Camp Fallujah, where John, a 21-year-old Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear specialist with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, is stationed. It was a reunion neither expected to have.
It was a normal day for Peter, a 19-year-old infantryman with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. After returning from a patrol, he was putting his gear away and looking forward to a couple of hours of shut-eye. Those plans came to a screeching halt when his platoon commander, 2nd Lt. Travis Bowden, told him to pack his gear for a trip to Fallujah.
“For a second I thought he was joking,” added Dayton. “That is when Lt. Bowden said I was going there to see my brother. For a couple seconds I was shocked. Without a moment’s delay I threw all my stuff in my daypack to leave.”
Peter could feel his hands getting sweaty with anticipation, but he wasn’t sure if it was from going to see his brother, or that he had to travel on some of the deadliest roads in Iraq to get there.
In Fallujah, John Dayton was going about his daily routine, unaware that his brother was on his way.
I was going to the gym in the morning when Chief Warrant Officer Edward Dubois, chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear (CBRN) officer-in-charge, told me to get changed back over, my brother was here, said the elder Dayton.
“At first, I thought he was joking. I knew he was trying to contact people to try and get my brother to visit, but I didn’t think it was going to be this soon.”
The brothers joyously reunited standing in the office where the older Dayton spends his days. Then the older brother gave his younger sibling the grand tour of his living and work areas. They talked about the different sides of the war they are each experiencing.
“The (infantry) life and (support) life is very different,” said Peter Dayton. “We talked for a while about things we have been doing in Iraq, and what we are going to do when we get back to the States. Then we went to the chow hall for our last meal together for a while.”
When the younger Dayton walked into his older brother’s office, he completed another chapter in their Marine Corps careers. They have been together since September 2005, when they enlisted together. They went through boot camp together, separated for their schools, and were both based at Camp Lejeune until they deployed within weeks of each other to Iraq.