Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. --
U.S. Marines are well accustomed to the responsibility of being one another’s brother’s and sister’s keepers, but for two administrative specialists that connection is literal.
Born March, 2001 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, fraternal twins Daniel and Gracely Vasquez Colon always had an incredibly close bond growing up, helping each other out where possible.
“Being twins we were always together through everything, thick and thin,” said Daniel.
As a teenager, Daniel really didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He was a fan of sports but he didn’t think he’d be able to make a career out of it, so he looked for other options, while doing so he found the United States Marine Corps.
“I looked into ways I’d be able to stay physically fit and have a good successful life,” said Daniel. “The Marine Corps offered me that and hasn’t let me down yet.”
Daniel left for Marine Corps recruit training and stepped on the infamous yellow foot prints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, on June 24, 2019. After graduating from recruit training, Marine Combat Training, and Personnel Administration School, Daniel arrived at his first duty station, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS) at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, fulfilling the roll of an administrative specialist.
Following in her brother’s foot-steps, Gracely entered recruit training on Dec. 13, 2019.
“At first I had thought about [joining] the Army,” said Gracely. “Then when looking more into the Marine Corps, plus with my brother being in, it motivated me more to join. I feel like it was a good way for me to start my own life.”
Both Daniel and Gracely decided to join the Marine Corps versus any of the other branches because they felt that the Marines offered the most challenging experience.
“Both of us love challenges, we love when somebody challenges us because I feel like the harder you work for something the better the outcome will be,” said Gracely. “Gaining the title of Marine had more of a meaning to us because it was the tougher to go through.”
“Competition runs all through the family whether its military related or not, we push each other in every aspect and in many things we can,” said Daniel.
With the likelihood very low, Gracely never imagined she’d get the opportunity to be stationed with her twin, especially not on her first duty assignment. When Gracely received her orders after her graduation from Personnel Administration School, she was not only shocked but happily surprised to learn she had not only been assigned to the same base as Daniel, but even the same shop as her brother.
“I was hoping to travel the world, but I’m relieved I got stationed with my brother,” said Gracely. “Having him around is definitely an advantage.”
According to Gracely, having her brother around has really helped her settle in when she first arrived at MCAS Cherry Point. Daniel helped her learn her way around the installation and showed her the ropes of what to do and what not to do when it came to their working at MCAS Cherry Point’s Installation Personnel Administration Center.
“Once I made my decision to join, my parents were both proud,” said Daniel. “I always joke and say that I was used like the test dummy for my sister but eventually that’s what it was. Everything I struggled with helped me come up with a plan to eventually helping me keep my sister from making the same mistakes.”
“We definitely push and compete with each other,” said Gracely. “It’s always a competition of who is the best Marine. We always ask each other random questions to test knowledge and we both slay each other when we PT.”
Going forward in their Marine Corps careers, both Daniel and Gracely have their individual goals that they’re working to obtain.
“I have a lot of goals and aspirations going forward in this gun club,” said Daniel. “One of many would be becoming a drill instructor and getting my time back on Parris Island.”
Gracely has her eye set on achieving the rank of gunnery sergeant and to be able to inspire Marines around her to work harder and to become better then herself.
Daniel and Gracely consider themselves very fortunate to be stationed with each other and have the chance to motivate each other to be the best Marines they can be.
“I feel very much pleased and happy that we’re both stationed here together,” said Gracely. “I can always count on him [Daniel] for anything. He’ll always have my back.”
“During all of this of course we will eventually separate but I was blessed for being able to mentor and guide her toward the right direction during her first duty staion.” said Daniel.
Both Marines still have the opportunity to travel the world if they decide to re-enlist, and the Marine Corps way of life is sure to continue offering them challenges both personally and professionally.
“Being in the military you have to get used to being away from family,” said Gracely. “It’s a great experience that we got the opportunity to be stationed with each other and to have the ability to come to each other with any personal problems in person. It’s a blessing.”