From the Football Field to the Battlefield

Brothers Brad and Scott Stys joined the Marine Corps together after spending two years playing football in college. The fraternal twins are both assault men in the infantry and are currently in the city of Ramadi with Fox Company, 2 Battalion 8th Marine Regiment.

Some Marines in the infantry claim those who they work the closest with as their family; even further their brothers. Two assault men with Fox Company in Ramadi have not only the birth certificates, but also the DNA to prove in fact they are brothers.

Fraternal twins, Lance Cpl.’s Brad and Scott Stys, assault men, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment coin the term brothers in arms. The 22-year olds are just two of the many Marines supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and conducting daily infantry operations.

After attending college for two years at Rowan University in New Jersey the brothers decided college wasn’t for them at that time. The Stys brothers then visited their local recruiter’s office with one goal in mind to become infantry Marines.

“We just knew it was the right thing to do at the time,” said Brad. “Our grandfather was a Marine in the South Pacific during World War II and our father was in the 101st Airborne during Vietnam. We were just brought up that way; we knew we were Marines long before we even joined.”

Before the brothers decided to fight together they played together. The Stys brothers, natives of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, were both starting wide receivers while in college and say they compare a lot about football with the Marine Corps.

“We’ll talk about it a lot,” said Scott. “How similar being a football player is to being an infantry Marine. Just like in football if everyone does there job it all comes together as a whole. That goes for an individual in a squad to the platoon and all they way up.”

Although both the brothers belong to Fox Company, Brad and Scott perform very different jobs. Brad, a member of the jump platoon serves as part of the personal security detachment for the company commander.

“I’m a turret gunner in the lead vehicle with Fox Company jump,” said Brad. “We run the mobile patrols as well as go on foot patrols with the company commander.”

Scott who works with a group of Marines embedded with Iraqi Police describes his day’s routine a little different.

“We do a lot of security patrols and make sure the people in our area are safe and are doing ok,” said Scott. “Aside from that we also provide the quick reaction force for our area and stand post protecting where we live.”

Prior to the deployment not everyone knew just how many Stys’ there really were in Fox Company.

“Before coming to Iraq we would have people come up to one of us, kinda confused, and say they just saw us on third deck in uniform and shortly after on first deck with PT gear,” Scott said. “I guess they just thought we changed really fast,” added Brad.

For the company, welcoming a set of twins was something most of them were familiar with. The addition of the Stys brothers ensured this was the third deployment in a row Fox Company would embark on with a set of twins in its ranks.

“I could tell these Marines were leaders from the first day I met them, when I picked them up from the School of Infantry,” said 1st Sgt. Robert Williamson, first sergeant, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment. “After I talked to them I knew they were good to go and from that point on it’s been an honor to have them in the company.”

Williamson, who remembers his first set of twins in the company, says the toughest part about dealing with twins is the fact that you want to keep them together, but at the same time you have to keep them apart.

“There was an incident last year with the previous set of twins I had when one of them got shot,” said Williamson. “You just never know what’s going to happen and in this case in showed it was beneficial to have had them separated.”

The separation of the twins isn’t just to prevent damage control when things go bad. Williamson said aside from the leadership they bring to the company they also evoke a competitive side in everyone.

“One of the best things about these guys is they’re very competitive,” said Williamson. “They make everyone want to compete; to be the best. Whether it’s the brothers competing to see who the better of the two is, or their squads competing to see who can get the job done better, they bring that level of competition.”

Making a good impression for anyone who’s new to an infantry unit can be hard, but both the brothers seem to have figured it out.

“They’re both outstanding Marines,” added Williamson. “Brad is on the commanding officers mobile, and he’s the guy we feel comfortable riding in his truck knowing that he’s doing his job. Scott not only was put up for company Marine of the month, but is also filling in as the Corporal of the guard a month into his first deployment. These Marines are telling guys on their second deployment to fix themselves.”

Although Williamson still has difficult distinguishing them apart, he’s got his mind made up on one thing about the brothers.

“If they keep up with the pace they’re going at, there’s no doubt in my mind that these Marines will be squad leaders after this deployment,” said Williamson.

As for made up minds; Williamson isn’t the only one sure of the Stys’ future after this deployment. Both the brothers have both short term and long term goals in the making.

“I’m really looking forward to spending some time on the beach,” said Scott. “That’s something we haven’t gotten to do in a while.”

After the Marine Corps, college is of the utmost importance for both Scott and Brad.

“We both plan on going back to school after our four years in the Marines Corps,” said Brad. “We’re looking forward to playing football again and graduating with degrees.”

Although the Stys’ don’t plan on making a career out of the Marine Corps they said they’ll never forget the things the Corps has taught them.

“One of the greatest things about the Marine Corps is the leadership,” said Scott. “You get to see a lot of different leadership styles and from that point pick and choose which ones you like as you mold yourself as a leader.”