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Face of Defense: Twins Begin to Chart Their Own Paths

By Terrance Bell U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee

FORT LEE, Va., Sept. 20, 2016 — Breaking some ties of brotherhood can be difficult, but it can be even harder when your brother is also your twin. Just ask the Castillo twins -- Moises and Macario -- Army privates assigned to Romeo Company, 262nd Quartermaster Battalion here.

Growing up, the 19 year olds from Merced, California, lived the typical lives of twins -- dressing alike, participating in activities together and causing identify confusion in their schools and neighborhood. When they graduated high school, however, they parted ways for roughly a year and began to develop separate lives. Moises relocated to the Seattle area to attend college and Macario stayed behind in Merced.

The separation revealed some hard truths, Macario said.

“To be honest, you are not used to living without that person you’ve been living with your whole life,” he said. “You have this sense of emptiness. You wake up and you’re used to seeing that person and then one day, they’re gone.”

Moises said his experience being away from his brother was similar.

“When I moved out, I had to kind of do things on my own instead of talking to him and deciding what ‘we’re’ going to do,” he recalled of his new life.

Together, Apart

Realizing they needed more time together to navigate their transition, they began taking about joining the Army as a way to correct an abrupt parting.

“We both agreed to join together,” Macario said. “It was an, ‘If I do it, you do it,’ kind of thing.”

The time apart had made the brothers wiser. Both gave more weight to making decisions based on what they wanted individually, not what they should do together simply because they were twins or had similar interests.

“I asked him, ‘Are you sure you want to join?’” Macario recalled. Moises’ collegiate opportunity had been troubled by financial issues. “‘You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to,’ and he said he still wanted to do it.”

The Castillo twins joined the California Army National Guard roughly a week apart as water treatment specialists. They attended basic combat training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and arrived at their advanced individual training in August. Macario is in his ninth week of the 12-week course while Moises is in his seventh.

Future Plans

After graduating from training, Moises plans to attend community college in Washington and pursue a degree in civil engineering at the University of Washington. He also wants to pursue a spot on the school’s boxing team. Macario also wants to pursue civil engineering, but has not decided upon a college. He plans to box as well.

Their plans seem to be essentially the same as they were before they joined the National Guard, but with one important difference -- they have come to terms with the realization that a lifetime of sharing cannot be undone with a few sudden decisions. It takes time, thought and an appreciation for history.

“It’s hard because since we were kids, we’ve been together,” Moises said. “Going to college will have a lot of responsibilities we need to take care of, so we won’t be able to stay in touch like we used to. In high school, it was easy to just go home and talk about it. In college, you have to focus on passing and pursuing your own career.”

Macario said he is somewhat torn by the transition but deems it necessary.

“In a way I think it’s actually good but it’s kind of bad,” he said. “I realize you have to learn to let go and let the other person pursue his own life or else they can never pursue it as a person. It’s a big step forward in our lives.”

In starting their own lives and careers, the brothers still have much in common: They are National Guardsmen pursuing the same skill, the same college major and the same sport. In the latter, it is to their liking to one day face each other in the ring.

“Since we’re in the same weight class [lightweight], maybe we can eventually fight each other,” Moises said.
Distribution channels: Military