2006-03-25 / Front Page

They Say It's 'Cool' To Serve Alongside Your Soldier Sibling

By Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Rogers Combat Aviation Brigade PAO, 4th Inf. Div

The thought of having one's brother or sister serve alongside you while performing your duties as a soldier can be described with just one word - Cool.

That word is an exact description of brother and sister tandem for Staff Sgt. Eric and Pfc. Jennifer Cool, both of whom are assigned to the Combat Aviation Brigade's Company B, 404th Aviation Support Battalion.

The Cools are both aircraft mechanics and, at one point, were working within the same platoon. But here in Iraq, older brother Eric now works in Quality Control, while Jennifer, who is five years younger, continues to work in the maintenance section.

Last fall, Jennifer arrived at Fort Hood and was immediately greeted by her older brother, who said he had no idea she was even coming to Fort Hood or that she would be assigned to his unit.

"I found out the day she showed up," he said. "Last I knew, she was supposed to go to Korea - and then she ended up coming to Fort Hood. I picked her up at the airport and dropped her off at the Soldier Center. Then later on that day, I was told, 'hey, you got a new Soldier.' I went down to the personnel department and sure enough, it was her."

Eric said he thought to himself, "What are the odds of that happening"

He said despite the fact that she was at Fort Hood, he was even more surprised that she came to his exact unit.

"It was very exciting, knowing that I was going to get to work with my brother at my first duty station," Jennifer said.

According to Eric, it was somewhat awkward, but he could see the happiness in his sister's face.

"It was weird," he said, with laughter in his voice. "She had this big ole smile on her face and was like, 'hi brother.' So I took her to the unit and back down to the first sergeant and told him, 'look at this, it's my sister.' He couldn't believe it. Everybody always asks me, 'is that your sister or your wife?' 'No, definitely not my wife.'"

Eric said although they are both combat Soldiers, he continues to be the protective big brother in some cases. The Cools actually have one other sibling. Their younger brother, Josh, lives in their native Emporium, Pa., which is near Punxsutawney, Pa., a town famous for its relation to Ground Hog's Day.

He said it has been a pleasure serving with his sister. They continue to be professional Soldiers but also maintain close family ties.

"It's nice to have a shoulder you can lean on in the sense of being away from home," he said. "But we're here together, so we bring that family togetherness. When I'm having a bad day, I can go talk to her. It's someone I know I can turn to. If she's having a problem, she knows she can turn to me at any time. It's just nice having a family member here."

Jennifer echoed her brother's comments, saying she also enjoys having someone whom she can talk to after a rough day.

"It's been pretty cool actually," she said. "We're both here for each other and provide support for each other."

The Cools agreed that their parents were excited that both of their children were serving so closely together.

"Mom and Dad, they liked it," explained Eric, who along with his fiance', is expecting a daughter later in the year. "Mom really liked it. She doesn't like the fact that we're over here, but she feels more comfortable that I'm here and can look after (Jennifer)."

He jokingly pointed out that he hasn't had any problems out of his sister - yet. He also said they worked closely together back at Fort Hood, although Jennifer was in a different squad. Even though they don't work directly together here in Iraq, they are only yards away from each other.

She said she's also happy that they are able to serve together here in Iraq. It provides some comfort to their family members back in the States.

"The rest of the family is doing pretty well, knowing that we're both over here, supporting each other." said 20-year-old Jennifer. "There's a lot of support for us back home," Eric and Jennifer Cool, the brother and sister tandem the Endeavor wrote about several months ago, were featured in a military newspaper recently. The story and photograph were sent here for publication. This is a recent photo of the pair, taken in Iraq.

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