|AL ASAD, Iraq, Sept. 22, 2006 — While growing up, Daniel and Anthony Martinez, U.S. Marines from Michigan's Bay City, were typical young brothers - they fought and argued. But when Daniel was injured last month after a suicide bomber attacked his unit's post in Iraq's Al Anbar Province, everything changed.
For the two Marines, who are just one year apart in age and both stationed in Iraq, communication has been sparse at best - Anthony serves at this sprawling U.S. airbase, while Daniel serves on a much smaller outpost northwest of Al Asad. Plus, the brothers' daily duties leave little time for e-mails and phone calls.
"We knew that we would be out here at the same time," said Cpl. Anthony Martinez, an organizational automotive mechanic with Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). "We knew that we would probably have little to no contact with each other because of the situations we were in. Serving in a war doesn't leave much time for catching up."
The brothers did manage to meet and talk with each other once at an Al Asad chow hall under extremely rare circumstances before Daniel, a mortar man with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, was injured.
Talking to Marines while eating chow was Anthony's ticket to finding out his brother was actually in the same room as him without either of them knowing it.
"I was talking to a Marine, and he told me he was with 3rd LAR," said Anthony. "I asked if my brother was with them, and they told me, 'yeah, he's sitting right over there.'"
After a quick greeting and a short talk, the brothers parted ways once again to do the duties entrusted to them, and it wouldn't be until after the fateful day that Daniel's post was attacked that either of them would see one another again.
Daniel's unit was working with the Iraqi Army, verifying identifications while the Iraqi Army searched vehicles. According to Daniel, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device hit his post, and he was among the injured.
He received shrapnel to the head from the explosion, and his legs were pinned under the beams of a fallen building.