AL ASAD, Iraq -- Two brothers who have been apart for over two years were reunited in Iraq with the help of a former Marine who now works as a civilian contractor.
Scott and Anthony Cole spent March 21 together on Al Asad thanks to the efforts of Marc Allen, a customer service representative for Agility Logistics, a company that supplies food to coalition forces in Iraq.
Anthony, a 23-year-old corporal, is a food service specialist with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment attached to Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, deployed to Camp Fallujah. Scott, a 25-year-old sergeant, is a career retention specialist with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 deployed to Al Asad.
Allen, a former Marine food service specialist, works with Anthony at Fallujah. Allen, who makes regular trips to bases in Iraq to inspect food, says the idea to bring the two together started when Anthony told him that his brother was at Al Asad.
“I told him, ‘I’ll just take you up to Al Asad with me’,” said Allen. “Get it cleared with your first sergeant, and clear it with your brother’s command. And if it’s okay, I can make it happen. I can get the flight.”
Scott says he received an e-mail from his brother telling him to clear it with his command, and two days later Anthony arrived at Al Asad.
“I’m still kind of absorbing the fact that it actually did happen,” said Scott.
This was the first time the brothers had seen each other in over two years, according to Scott.
“Between his deployments and my going to Japan in 04, we are never in the same state at the same time,” said Scott. “This is the longest time we’ve been in any one area together.”
Growing up in the Rosemount, Minn., area, the two Marines were close to each other and to their two other brothers, according to Scott
“We grew up and it was just the four of us, we really didn’t care about anyone else,” said Scott. “It was always two on two for everything. It was good times.”
Scott says he joined the military to add some stability to his life. For Anthony, it was his older brother’s decision to join the Marines that persuaded him to do the same.
“My brother joined, and that was a big influence on me,” said Anthony. “When I was a kid, the NCO sword was a big thing. But after I enlisted, went to bootcamp, and went on my first deployment, I found out that it might be my calling.”
The brothers have not told their family they were able to meet up yet, but said they plan to soon.
“They’ll be pretty excited,” said Scott. “Because that was something that we were joking about when we found out that I was coming out here. That somehow we would try to meet up. But we didn’t think it would happen. I guess the right people heard the right things and made it happen.”
In all, the Marines were able to spend about 12 hours together. The Coles spent the majority of their day just talking, according to Scott.
“It’s one of those things where you have a lot of catching up to do,” said Scott. “You have such a short time that you end up just talking.”
Both Marines are grateful to Allen for making it possible to see each other.
“It’s a memorable experience now,” said Anthony of his deployment. “I was looking forward to (seeing Scott) if it happened. It was great that it did.”
Allen was just happy he could help the brothers spend a day together.
“We’re one Marine family here,” said Allen. “It doesn’t matter whether your retired, active duty or reservist. It’s the bond that holds us all together. It made my day.”