CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – During deployment, Soldiers are introduced to new environments and challenges. Soldiers have different ways of combating the daily stress and high-pressures of a deployment. However, the one thing that remains is the way Soldiers hold their families near and dear in their hearts.
For some Soldiers in the 1889th Regional Support Group (RSG) from Butte, Mont., their families are deployed alongside them in uniform.
U.S. National Guard Soldiers Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jerimiah Chumley and Master Sgt. Daniel Wilmot from the 1889th RSG deployed to the Middle East in support of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). The two came to CJTF-OIR deployed alongside their family members: Jerimiah with his twin brother and Daniel with his two sons.
Jerimiah, a petroleum systems technician, joined the U.S. Army Montana National Guard in 2008 with his identical twin brother, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Chumley, a shower and laundry specialist. The two attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training together, leading to brotherly rivalry and shenanigans.
“You’re trying to stay under the radar, but with two twins, right off the bat, drill sergeant was [staying] on us,” said Jerimiah. “We had a lot more extra competitions – who could do the more push-ups, who would do the obstacle course. We were in the same company, different platoons, so we had fun with that.”
Joshua recalled such competitive moments in training with his brother.
“There was no chill in the back and hiding,” said Joshua. “We were pinned against each other in everything.”
The two also used their likeness to cause mischief. During an exercise to Romania, the brothers were then a sergeant and a staff sergeant.
“We had them completely convinced that we were getting promoted and demoted daily,” said Jerimiah. “It took them three weeks before they realized it was two different people.”
The deployment to the Middle East was the first time the brothers have deployed together, but it was not from a lack of trying.
“They have no problem sending us to training events together,” Jerimiah said. “Deployments are always a little harder.”
Despite deploying with each other, Jerimiah and Daniel found themselves separated from their family.
The 1889th RSG found a way for the two brothers to be able to talk even though they couldn’t be in the same immediate area.
“We’ll make you the mobility OIC and He’ll be the mobility NCOIC,” Jerimiah recalls. “You’ll get to talk everyday about stuff. That was one thing the command did, how to stay in the same realms so we can talk to each other daily.”
“It was very relieving that both of us were going to be out here doing this mission together, even though we’re not in the same location,” Joshua said. “It’s very nice to have that.”
Daniel also felt this sentiment of wanting to be close to his sons during deployment. For him, serving in the same unit as his family brought about a natural sense of closeness. However, this familial bond brought about its own challenges during their deployment to the Middle East.
Daniel, a general engineering supervisor, deployed alongside his two sons, Spc. Kolter Wilmot, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist, and Spc. Daltyne Wilmot, a wheeled vehicle mechanic. Daniel has been serving in the U.S. National Guard for about 31 years, while the two sons have been serving for several years.
“The pros of working with the family is that you get the opportunity to show them what I went through the first time,” said Daniel. “It gives them a chance to kind of understand why I Served.”
Kolter reflected on his decision to enlist and his father’s role in it.
“My father had an impact on me deciding to join the Army – quite a substantial impact because he was the one that recommended it after I went through some trials, some stuff,” said Kolter. “When I was growing up, I just didn’t have much else going on in my life.”
Daniel had been on other deployments over the course of his military career, but he wanted to share his last deployment with his sons.
“We were trying to jump in the same deployment,” said Daniel. “One of my boys got stuck with another unit. Then my other son was [ready] to go, and then he was off, and then he was back on. So, that was kind of nerve-wrecking since we all wanted to go at the same time.”
Kolter also shared his thoughts about entering this deployment.
“As far as my brother and I both going, this was kind of a big thing for us to do for the old man because he’s been in for so long,” said Kolter. “This is his last deployment, and we wanted to make it a last hurrah for him so he can at least say that both his kids went with him.”
Even though Daniel and his sons are in the same deployment, they were sent to different parts of the Middle East.
“Me being down here in Kuwait and them being up north – it’s a little harder because the dad side of me kicks in,” said Daniel. “I worry a little more about them even though I know they are well trained and can handle anything that happens.”
Daniel reflected on what he would say to his sons when they reunited.
“It’s the same as serving any other time – you just hope to get to see each other,” said Daniel. “We’d probably give each other a big hug and tell them how proud I am of them.”
Despite the hardships that come with deployments, both the Wilmot’s and the Chumley’s believed that serving alongside their family has been a rewarding experience.
“That’s the beauty of the guard,” Jerimiah stated. “We are allowed to be with family, that’s why I picked it.”
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