CAMP VICTORY, Iraq (Army News Service, July 10, 2007) - Together since conception, Capts. Jordan and Jonah Burfield were finally separated due to their deployments to Iraq. However, the Army also brought them back together for their promotions to captain at the Al Faw Palace here July 1.
Jordan is based at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad; Jonah is at Camp Falcon on the Iraqi capital's south side. Thanks to mutual friends and each of their chains-of-command, the identical twins were able to celebrate the milestone together at Camp Victory, on Baghdad's west side.
The Burfield twins have come a long way from their home in Lacrosse, Wis., since beginning their military careers only eight years ago.
"We were battle buddies in basic training, and the drill sergeants loved that," said Jordan, a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. "I wasn't the best Soldier right away. I was probably the worst private there."
"Jordan lacked discipline in the beginning," said Jonah, who serves with the 47th Ordnance Company, 79th Ordnance Battalion. "I was constantly getting smoked every time he screwed up.
"The drill sergeants tried to get us to hate each other because they wanted us to box each other at the company boxing match," Jonah explained. "It didn't work, though. We have such a unique bond that it just made us closer."
When the boxing match finally came, the two brothers just tapped each other back and forth, refusing to actually come to blows, Jonah said. Looking back on it, they now argue about who would have actually won the match.
"He is a little bigger than me, but I have more fight in me," Jonah said, measuring his brother with a glance.
"I don't know about that! I think I would win," Jordan quickly countered.
Back in basic training, Jordan remembered that watching his brother get punished for his mistakes and lack of discipline made him get his act together. He went on to finish as an honor graduate.
"Jonah made me a better Soldier because I felt such a deep hurt watching him suffer because of me," Jordan said.
The brothers agree the hardest part of leading nearly identical Army careers is watching the other one suffer during training. Especially the special forces training they went through in California, they said.
"We can't feel each other's pain, though it's a common misconception about identical twins," Jonah clarified. "Its just hard watching him go through any hardship."
"We can't read the other one's mind, either," Jordan said. "That's another misconception."
"But when we were kids we tricked every one into thinking we could (read each other's minds)," Jonah said. "Jordan would tell the other kids a number, then I would put my fingers on his temples and he would flex his temples the number he was thinking."
Jordan said he enjoyed the chance to reminisce with his brother.
"I am so thankful we were able to get together for this (their promotion)," he said.
This is the longest period of time they have ever been separated in 26 years. Though stationed in different areas of Baghdad, Jordan, an Apache pilot, often flies over Jonah's area of operation. They say it comforts them both.
"I feel like he is my guardian angel," Jonah said. "I find comfort in knowing he is watching over me, and the rest of the family feels good about it, too."
The twins have three other brothers, all in the military, which is difficult for their parents to endure, Jordan said.
"Since the start of the war, at least one of the five brothers has been deployed," Jonah said. "We try and keep in touch with our parents as often as possible to ease their minds a little bit."
The brothers were allotted one day together at Camp Victory. They have to go back to work, back to their respective base camps, but Jonah said he will still gaze skyward to see his brother watching over him.
(Spc. Shea Butler writes for the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)