A Tale of Two Brothers
Patrick and Peter are brothers. The two youngest of the Weinert siblings, they’ve shared a special bond over the years: best friends, best advisers, best confidants, best competitors, best prayer warriors, and I’m sure at times even best enemies.
Patrick tells stories of how annoying was Pete’s ability to never study and yet get straight As all through grade school. Pete regales the family with stories of how Patrick beat up on little bro Pete, with Little Bro retaliating with – you guessed it – being the world’s best tattletale to their Mom. Peter also shares memories of how he worshipped the ground his older brother walked on. When Patrick would get annoyed by his ever-present tag-along, their Dad would remind him: “Pete is paying you a compliment – he wants to be just like you!”
After college, the two brothers shared something more in common: they both entered the United States military; Patrick choosing to be a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, and Peter joining the Army.
The brothers knew that at some point during their service, it could become likely that they’d both deploy to the Middle East at the same time. That became true a couple years ago, when both brothers were sent to Iraq with their respective units. Before they deployed, Peter called Patrick and vowed: “When we’re over there Bro, I WILL find you – I promise!”
It seemed like an unlikely promise to keep: the Middle Eastern desert isn’t exactly a tiny little playground where the whole U.S.military congregates together. And yet, as it so happened, one day Peter found himself out in the desert (“the middle of nowhere” as he describes it) assisting with ground support for a crashed Marine Corps chopper.
Pete spoke with the pilot of the crashed helicopter and discovered that he was from the same unit as Patrick! When Pete told the pilot he was Spock’s [Patrick’s call sign] brother, the pilot was in shock. Soon an excited buzz was rippling through the Marine Corps squadron: “Spock has a brother! Did you know Spock had a brother??!! Spock’s brother is here!”
Pete’s unit gave him a satellite radio and allowed him to be the first to break the news to Spock that someone he loved was standing not very far below his chopper. Pete broke the news by daring his brother “If you have any hair on your chest at all you’ll buzz the deck,” he challenged. Patrick knew right away who’s voice and challenge that call came from. In the picture below, you can see Pete talking on that very same radio. Patrick is flying the helicopter directly above his head:
At Peter and my wedding reception, Patrick told our guests the story I just recounted during his Best Man Toast. “He promised he’d find me, and he did. When Pete gives his word, he keeps it!”
Everyone at our wedding was amazed to hear that these two brothers were able to find each other in the vast wilderness of theMiddle East.
Fast forward to the present: Peter has returned to civilian life, but Patrick is now a Major in the Marine Corps. He deployed for his current mission in Afghanistan this past April. God willing, he’ll be home in time for Thanksgiving.
Peter wanted to do something special for Patrick – something that would let him know how much all the Weinerts are thinking of him. As it so happens, Pete has a new job, and his boss is a two-star Marine Major General.
Again, being the bold person my husband is, Pete immediately spoke to the General about trying to “work” something out to surprise Patrick on his deployment. The General told Pete to come up with an original idea and get back to him.
Patrick gave Peter the perfect opportunity when he told him he was going to call Pete from Afghanistanfor his birthday, and then couldn’t – completely understandable but perfect grist for the mill!
Via text, Pete was able to find out the name of Patrick’s Commanding General. He relayed the information to his boss at work, along with the story of Patrick’s failed birthday phone call.
Pete’s boss was traveling at the time to some major conferences around the country, so he emailed him all the details. Total silence for something around a week followed. Then, out of the blue, the entire Weinert family received the following email from Patrick:
Pete got me pretty good…to say the least.
So I’m walking on the flight line here in this blazing hot country, guiding a group of reporters from the San Diego Union Tribune, and all of a sudden I run into the Commanding General, who says ‘Hey Maj Weinert!’ First I was surprised that he found me on the flight line and that he even knew WHO I WAS. Then he goes ‘What did we forget to do on June 5th?’ I was like ‘huh?’ Then he gave me a little pat on the arm and goes ‘You forgot to call your brother and wish him a happy birthday!’ Everyone had a good laugh – all the reporters too…they probably caught it on film too and it will be in the newspaper.
For the rest of the day, I kept getting reminded by every officer lower than the rank of a 2-star general about how I had neglected my brother. The wing Chief of Staff, the G-3, even my CO, he sees me and goes ‘did you forget to call your brother? hahahah’ It was like an episode of ‘The Office’ or some other sitcom.
Pete – I raise a mug of non-alcoholic brew in your honor out here. Well done. This will be a difficult one to top. But watch out…when you least expect it…
Ahhhhh, I love these stories of two brothers who clearly enjoy each other so much. It makes me grateful to be a part of such a wonderful family. I must admit, it also makes me daydream of two other rambunctious but loving brothers I’m getting to know fairly well: I wonder what shenanigans they’ll come up with for each other someday soon?
Final request to all my readers: My brother-in-law Patrick and his squadron from San Diego will be in Afghanistan until November. Please offer a prayer for their spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing. They are incredibly grateful for your prayers. So am I!
“Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
– Romans 12:10