CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Lucas, Josey and Steven grew up together. They graduated high school together.
They joined the Marine Corps together. They completed boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., together. They trained to be helicopter mechanics, and checked into their first unit together.
And now, for the second time in two years, they’re deployed to Afghanistan together.
The three men, all from Scott County, Tenn., are cousins. As they discharge their duties as mechanics and crew chiefs on Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369’s UH-1Y Hueys, they have one another.
“We grew up really tight,” said Cpl. Josey Chambers. “We have literally been together our entire lives.”
After graduating Scott High School in 2008, the cousins joined the Marine Corps in rapid succession, all with aviation contracts. They went to boot camp in the same platoon, and all trained to work on the same type of aircraft. In an even more rare scenario, they all received orders to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“We figured we’d get different units but we lucked out and were assigned to the same squadron,” said Cpl. Steven Kries.
The squadron, currently deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), provides close-air support with UH-1Y Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobras for coalition forces operating in southwestern Afghanistan, saving forces of NATO and Afghan forces alike.
“Our families get a little comfort knowing we’re out here able to watch each other’s backs,” said Cpl. Lucas Chambers.
“If I don’t talk to my parents for awhile, they’re calling his parents looking for updates,” said Steven.
In the holiday season, Lucas admits Christmas in Afghanistan will “probably just be another day here.” But he said he worries about his family back home, missing the three young men over the holidays.
“That’s probably the worst part of it,” Lucas said, “knowing they’re going to be thinking of us and missing us.”
The cousins’ circumstance has allowed them to stay exceptionally close during their time in the Marine Corps. The Marines said they like being able to lean on each other in Afghanistan.
“Everyone out here is like family, but having these guys definitely helps,” Josey said.
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