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thedrifter
08-04-09, 01:20 PM
Marine serves 2d tour to be with kin

By Associated Press | August 3, 2009

WATERBURY, Conn. - Nicholas Voghel will be back in Iraq for a second round of military service when he turns 20 tomorrow.

There’s nowhere he’d rather be than in the same country as his older brother.

Voghel and his 21-year-old brother, Derek, are leaving their Wolcott home to serve with the Marines in Iraq. The two brothers will live and work on the same military base in Al Asad, although in different units.

As a child, Nicholas Voghel knew he wanted to enlist. He completed training to become a Marine immediately after high school. He recently returned from his first deployment to Iraq, resting for two weeks at home.

He’s choosing to return during his brother’s first deployment, however, in hopes that his being there will help alleviate the homesickness so common among members of the armed forces stationed overseas.

“What’s the point in being back [home] if he’d be there?’’ Nicholas Voghel asked.

This will be the first deployment for Derek Voghel. He never imagined himself as a Marine. After graduating from high school, he attended Central Connecticut State University.

He chose to pursue military service once he had completed a year and a half of college, after deciding that the most valuable type of learning doesn’t occur in a classroom.

Although Derek Voghel wants to serve his country, he’s has no illusions about the toils of war. Inside the Al Asad base, surrounded by canyon walls, the temperature in the shade is 120 degrees and sandstorms linger. The work is grueling and the beds are uncomfortable.

Nicholas and Derek Voghel plan to see each other every day, and neither one will see combat.

Nicholas Voghel will program satellite terminals and Derek Voghel will repair helicopters.

Although the military regimen teaches valuable life experience, neither brother sees a military career in his future.

After Nicholas Voghel’s four years of service, he wants to become a State Police officer.

Derek Voghel, who must complete five years of service, plans to use the skills he’s acquired as an airplane mechanic in the aircraft industry.

Their father, Allen, Wolcott’s emergency preparedness director, instilled his children with American pride. But he wanted to make sure his oldest son was certain in his decision to enlist.

He recalls asking Derek at 2 one morning whether he actually wanted to join the Marines or felt pressured to do so.

Derek “said, ‘It’s my time to do what I can, while I can, because someone else did it for me,’ ’’ Allen Voghel said.

Ellie