CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Just a few short months ago, Lance Cpl. Yahaira Cosme, a supply warehouseman with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), was making final preparations for her first deployment: a combat tour to Afghanistan.
Just down the road her younger brother Lance Cpl. Jovanny Cosme, an intelligence specialist with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, was busy doing the same thing.
Though they are currently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., the pair, the youngest of four children, began their journey to Helmand Province long before the thought of earning their Eagle, Globe and Anchors even crossed their minds. As siblings growing up in their hometown of Lynn, Mass., they were inseparable and their Marine Corps careers are proving to only strengthen this bond.
“Whether it was sitting back and watching television together or going out with friends on the weekends, growing up, we did everything together,” said 21-year-old Jovanny.
This trend continued as they grew into young adults. Prior to enlisting, Yahaira spent time working her way through college with sights set on a criminal justice degree, like her brother who was also pursuing the same career path. The two also dabbled in boxing, but busy schedules and hobbies aside, something was still missing.
At this point, enlisting in the Marines Corps became a serious consideration - for both of them, of course.
“As a female, I wanted to prove I could make it in the toughest branch of service – the Marine Corps,” said Yahaira. “I wanted to earn the respect that comes with being a Marine, so I went for it.”
According to his sister, Jovanny was a bit reluctant to enlist at first, but eventually made his decision and swore in to the Corps shortly after her.
“My sister and I had always talked about it; we spent almost a year contemplating our decision,” said Jovanny. “My biggest issue was leaving our mom alone, but when we actually talked to her about it she said she would support us one hundred percent. We thought if we joined together, not only would [it] be something unheard of by most people, but [we would] have the motivating thought of going through the same experience together at [recruit training].”
“Knowing she was on the island, going through the same [thing] I was would be a good way to keep me going,” he added.
The pair reported to recruit training on December 8, 2008, an experience Jovanny said he will never forget.
Their drill instructors had a little fun with both of them by arranging a few short meetings throughout the training cycle while earning the title of Unites States Marine. The two agree that it was all the more amazing because they were able to graduate together.
“It was nice to know he was going through the same thing I was,” said 22-year-old Yahaira. “It made things a lot easier to keep pushing through – I didn’t want to get dropped; graduating with him was all the encouragement I needed.”
“It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve felt, knowing we had accomplished our goal together,” said Jovanny.
Following recruit training the siblings moved on to Marine Combat Training together, then parted ways. After a brief period of time away from one another during their respective Military Occupational Specialty schools, they reunited at their first permanent duty station.
Unknown to Yahaira, her brother received orders to MCB Camp Lejeune as well, and broke the news to her with a surprising phone call.
“He needed a ride to base,” said Yahaira with a laugh. “He had gotten orders to Lejeune and decided he was going to surprise me when he got to the area. It was definitely nice having him around. It always makes things easier knowing you have family around, having someone to talk to.”
“I was hoping I would have the chance to be stationed at Lejeune,” said Jovanny. “She had gotten there almost three months before I did and around week nine of twelve during MOS school I received my orders there. It seemed like we couldn’t get away from each other, which is how I hoped it would be.”
As the next couple of months passed, the two settled into their respective units and around the same time, they both received the news that they would be deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Jovanny would touch down in country January 5th, 2010 and his sister just a few weeks later on January 26th.
Yahaira settled in aboard Camp Leatherneck, and Jovanny headed to Marjah where at the time, Marine forces were gearing up for their initial assault.
Though Yahaira had her worries about her younger brother deploying to such an unstable area, Jovanny couldn’t think of a better way to spend his time in country, knowing his sister was here too.
“I still can’t believe we are both deployed here together,” said Jovanny. “The way we keep ending up at the same place is beyond me, but I can only hope it stays this way throughout our careers.”
Following their deployments and a little more rank on their collars, the two have a plan in place to continue their careers together. As it stands now, the two have their sights set on drill instructor duty together aboard MCRD Parris Island and beyond that, only time will tell.
“We have this vision of taking over Parris Island,” said Jovanny. “Our plan is to enter Drill Instructor School at the same time and become part of the Marine Corps’ finest.”