CAMP PENDLETON — Ten Marines with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment were highlighted when a CNN crew visited Camp Pendleton on Jan. 25.
Five sets of brothers with the Houston-based “lone star battalion” will be on the frontlines of Afghanistan together, when they deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom within the next few weeks.
CNN first heard about the brothers through a Houston-based newspaper, which first published an article about the five sets of brothers with the battalion.
“We had a newspaper reporter come to our house a few weeks back,” said Lance Cpl. Bobby Henrichsen, a rifleman with Alpha Company, 1/23. “I never expected for us to be on CNN after we got published in the newspaper.”
What was initially a news article, turned into a televised product slated to appear on CNN soon. No exact dates have been set for the segment to air.
Henrichsen is the brother of fellow platoon member Cody Henrichsen, who wears the same rank and has the exact same job, a rifleman.
“We used to fight a lot as kids,” said 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Cody Henrichsen, who is from Houston, along with his younger brother, Bobby, 19.
Now, they will be fighting, not against each other, but against an insurgency that has now been occupying Afghanistan for years.
The Vega Brothers are two of a family of six children, one daughter and five sons. Of those five boys, four earned their place among the ranks in the United States Marine Corps. Three of those Marines chose to go reserve, while only one went active duty and is now a drill instructor serving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
One of the reservists, Jose Manuel Vega, never got the chance to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead in 2002 he was fatally shot in Houston, just a year prior to his Corpus-Christi, Texas, unit’s mobilization to Iraq. With only two Marines left serving, a gunnery sergeant and a sergeant, both in the reserves, they will now serve together in Afghanistan on a six-month deployment with Alpha Company, 1/23.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s a good thing that we are deploying together,” said Sgt. Francisco Vega, a rifleman with Alpha Company, 1/23. “We are just doing what we need to do,” said his brother, Gunnery Sgt. Hector Vegacigarroa.
At the age of 5 the Faseler brothers were both already shooting guns. Almost two decades later, they find themselves shooting guns together — not hunting rifles and BB guns like they used to, but squad automatic weapons, M240B automatic machine guns and M4 semi-automatic assault rifles on the ranges of Camp Pendleton as both they prepare for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Lance Cpls. John Faseler and Matthew Faseler, a machine gunner and assaultman, respectively, with Charlie Company, 1/23, grew up in the small, country town of Jourdanton, Texas.
“Our parents our proud that we are going to be on TV,” John said. “We don’t know how they feel other than that, because we are trying to get used to not talking to them. That’s the way it’s going to be when we go to Afghanistan, and we just want to be ready.”
The remaining two sets of brothers with the battalion are the Hernandez and Beans brothers. Cpl. Joshua Beans, 24, and Lance Cpl. Daniel Beans, 23, both riflemen, are with Alpha Company. This will not be the first time the brothers have deployed together. They have previously deployed to Iraq.
Lance Cpl. Guillermo Hernandez, 27, and Pfc. Raul Hernandez, 24, both rifleman with Charlie Company, are from Corpus Christi, Texas. This will be their first deployments to Afghanistan.