AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marines come from all walks of life, from places all over the world. Most Marines meet others, who are from the same state, others from the same city. However, rarely do Marines meet other Marines from the same neighborhood.
Cpls. Chase H. Love, 20, and Kevin M. Doucette Jr., 21, are both field radio operators with 2nd Marines Headquarters Company and both from the same neighborhood in New Orleans.
"We grew up within walking distance of each other and never met until November," said Love. "Since then we became like brothers because we grew up in the same environment."
Doucette is 2001 class graduate of St. Augustine High School where he was a member of the band.
However, Love attended the rival school at West Jefferson High School where played football and took 4th place in state finals of track during his senior year of 2002.
"At first I thought it was cool to meet someone who knows where I'm from," said Doucette. "Soon after that we formed kind of brotherly bond because the same interests and background."
Love and Doucette both grew up in different housing projects in the same neighborhood of Gretna, La. They both dealt with same family and social issues while growing up.
"We both grew up in rough areas known for drugs, crime and violence," Doucette said. " I was raised in two separate households and have four younger brothers who looked up to me. After high school I wanted to go college but I couldn't afford. I joined the Marine Corps in hopes that it will inspire my brothers to do something good with their lives in spite of their environment."
"I was raised in a single family and when my mother passed away in January of 2002 I stayed with my older sister until I graduated," Love said. "I knew I wanted to go college and become something better, so I joined the Marine Corps knowing that I could achieve that goal and much more."
Knowing of their similar upbringings and drive to further advance themselves Love and Doucette's friendship developed into brotherhood over a short period of time before the deployment.
"People always see us around each other," Doucette said. "We helped each other get ready for the deployment. When our families came to visit us, they treated each other like they had known them their entire lives."
"I know the Marine Corps is all about family," Love said. "Doucette is like a brother to me and I'm like one to him. That really helps on these deployments, because it feels like you brought a family member with you."
Doucette's active duty tenure in service ends in July, while Love's ends August of 2006.However, Doucette has plans for his 'little brother' even after that.
"I plan building my own house on some land that my father owns and I'll be saving a spot for Love and his family near mine," Doucette added.
"It's good to have met someone like him. Even while he's still on active duty we're going to keep in touch."
"Family is there for you even when they don't have to be. It's that choice that separates friend and family relations," said Love.
"It will feel real good to have him around, while I raise my two kids. Because end the end that's what family's all about. Having those who mean the most to you grow old with you."