View Full Version : Cherry Point twins tackle life's challenges together

10-09-03, 10:52 AM
Cherry Point twins tackle life's challenges together
Submitted by: MCAS Cherry Point
Story Identification Number: 200310992121
Story by Cpl. Nathaniel C. LeBlanc

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Oct. 2, 2003) -- Raul and George Villarreal are unique sailors aboard the air station. They're identical twins who have become some what inseparable since the beginning of their Navy careers.

The Corpus Christi, Texas duo was naturally inseparable since birth, but when both received their high school diploma, they reached the next step in the grander scheme of life.

The two decided to both go into college and pursue careers in the medical field, but soon found themselves looking at the military as the cornerstone to building their careers.

"It was a Saturday morning and we were watching a football game. I got a phone call and at first I thought it was some sort of solicitor, but turned out to be a recruiter for the Navy," George recalled. "I started shooting the breeze; I listened to what he had to say, and then told him that I'll get back with him. Later on, he showed up to our school along with recruiters from other services. During that point I was doing an interview in the library with the Marine Corps. At the same time, the Navy recruiter that I spoke with was talking to my brother on the other side, not realizing it wasn't me. Usually we don't tell people that we're twins and kind of let them figure it out for themselves. So when I heard my brother speaking with the recruiter, I poked my head around the corner and he noticed me, and realizing that there were two of us."

After learning that the Marine Corps had no medical field, the Villarreal brothers chose to go with the Navy and become corpsmen. Both agreed to sign up as long as they were guaranteed the $50,000 college fund, the corpsmen military occupational specialty, and most importantly the buddy program.

"The one thing we were asking was to go to boot camp together and if it wasn't guaranteed we were walking," Raul said. "If we were both guaranteed HN, but couldn't go to boot camp together then we wouldn't sign up. They told us that they could do it, so we went through with it. We were like a 'two for one' deal for the recruiter."

The brothers went on to boot camp and soon became rack mates without their instructors realizing there were twins among them. Once they discovered the two, the instructors separated them shortly after, but there efforts didn't go too far, when the brothers found themselves opposite sides from each other after shuffling troops around the squad bay.

"When we went through it together it was a lot different from everyone because we had each other to rely on," Raul said. "Usually people think of home and family while they go through boot camp, but with my brother being there, I had my family with me."

"It's more than a brother-brother relationship with us," George added. "For us, it goes beyond that. If we were separated it's like taking someone's right arm away from them and making that person write with his left. When we're together we have this unity and balance."

The inseparable sailors completed boot camp and went on to corps school to learn there MOS for the Navy.

"In corps school we would switch at times throughout school, we've been doing pranks since we were four or 5-years old," George said. "During corps school we would just pull little pranks like sitting in opposite seats. Now days we keep things at a professional level. It's not like you can go in and switch someone's job and department because I don't know his job as well as he does."

The Villarreal brothers managed to stick together through corps school and field medical training, but both knew they wouldn't be able to have identical orders to their first duty stations.

"When we arrived at school we knew that we wouldn't be able to go to the same duty stations and that we would be on different sides of the world," Raul said. "But when it was around the time to get our orders, the commander asked us how important it was to us to stay together. And we told her it was very important to us to stay together. Once we actually got the orders, we took a look at each others before actually taking a look at it ourselves. We both picked them up simultaneously and were like 'Where you going?' Well, where you going? Then we both said Cherry Point at the same time."

The brothers moved to Cherry Point and into the same barracks room together and began working as hospital men at the Halyburton Naval Hospital.

"All the time we have people getting us confused with each other, especially with kids since my brother works in pediatrics," George said. "We especially get mixed up when we're transferred to different departments. So then I'll be dealing with his patients and him with mine. The patients wouldn't even realize the transition and go on thinking that I was Raul. We don't play it off, we'll let them know who's who. It's actually really funny to them when they found out that there are actual identical twins here."

Even though, the twins are identical, they try to help the coworkers to distinguish them from each other with Raul having his hair combed down and George having his hair combed up.

"Everyone knows us by telling if the hair is up or down," George said. "But people are still trying to profile us and seeing what's different from us."

Now having been able to not only go through boot camp, corps school, field medical, and getting orders to Cherry Point together, the Villarreal twins hope to spend the rest of their enlistment together and continue their pursuit for medical careers.

"Our goal is to go to college and get into medical. Being together helps us out because we both have our weak and strong points," George said. "But for right now, focused as corpsmen and if he had to go to war, we would do it together just like everything else we've done throughout life."


George (right) and Raul (left) Villarreal are identical twin sailors at the Cherry Point Halyburton Naval Hospital. The Hospitalman have been inseparable since the beginning of they're enlistment.
Photo by: Cpl. Nathaniel C. LeBlanc