Twin brothers take on Afghanistan together

Jarret and Josh Guysinger are twin brothers who signed up for the Army National Guard together in 2007. After returning from Afghanistan the brothers enrolled and started at Kent State in the Fall of 2013 as criminology and justice majors. Photo submitted by Jarret and Josh Guysinger.

Jarret and Josh Guysinger are twin brothers who signed up for the Army National Guard together in 2007. After returning from Afghanistan the brothers enrolled and started at Kent State in the Fall of 2013 as criminology and justice majors. Photo submitted by Jarret and Josh Guysinger.

Mary Booth

Jarrett Guysinger was born on Dec. 3, 1988. No more than two minutes later, his brother Josh was also born.

As twin brothers, Jarrett and Josh are mirror images of one another: With their dark hair, light eyes and muscular build, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart.

Both brothers also share a similar personality, the same sarcastic sense of humor and fearless outlook on life. Having so much in common, it’s no wonder they both decided to join the military during their senior year of high school.

“We have always wanted to be in the military,” said Josh Guysinger, a sophomore criminology major. “Since we were little we had always talked about joining and participating in the war.”

Jarrett and Josh signed up for the Army National Guard in May of 2007.

“Me, Josh and two of my other close friends all signed up together,” said Jarrett Guysinger, also a sophomore criminology major. “I remember all of us sitting around the lunch table and finally just doing it.”

After being involved with the National Guard for nearly five years, the brothers were deployed to Camp Stone, near Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan.

Sharon Guysinger, the mother of Josh and Jarrett, said she was scared and upset about the deployment of her boys.

However, she said she was relieved they were stationed overseas together because she knew they would make sure to take care of one another and keep each other safe.

Although the circumstances were rough, Sharon said she tried to make the best of an incredibly hard situation.

“I just kept trying to tell myself, they are going to be fine,” she said. “Everything will work out and I will see my boys soon.”

While in Afghanistan, both Josh and Jarrett were ranked specialists in their platoon. They did the driving and gunning for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, Josh said.

Jarrett said they were able to spend a lot of time together because they slept in the same barracks.

But the brothers initially thought they were going to get separated when they got to Afghanistan, Josh said. Throughout their time overseas they continued to be in the same platoon and for a while they were even a part of the same squadron, he said.

“I thought they were going to separate us,” Josh said. “They actually talked about it for a while. They kept telling us they were going to have to split us up, but they just never did anything about it.”

In the military there are certain restrictions about brothers fighting side by side, Jarrett said. But since the twins had an older brother at home, they said the restrictions were not nearly as strict.

“When we went on missions together they definitely didn’t want us in the same truck,” Jarrett said. “Our captain basically organized the roster based on us not being in the same truck; it was a key part.”

Sharon said she never truly adjusted to her sons being overseas, and she was happy for their return.

“Even though they don’t live with me anymore it was such a relief to know they made it back home and are finally able to begin their college careers,” Sharon said.

Jarrett and Josh returned from Afghanistan in September of 2012. They always planned on going to college so the first thing they did after coming home from the war was look for a university, Jarrett said. They chose Kent State because it was a good school, and it was close to home.

The brothers began their first semester at Kent State in fall 2013. Jarrett and Josh are currently living together and have taken up the same major, criminology and justice studies.

Jarrett said he doesn’t think it’s because they are twins that they always choose similar things.

“I think we just have the same interests,” Jarrett said. “We like the same things so it would make sense for both of us to have the same major and want a similar career.”

Josh said it felt great to finally be back home, going to school and having freedom, but recognized acknowledged that it was hard to adjust to the civilian life.

“It felt really good to be home, especially after such a long year,” Josh said “I told myself that I wasn’t going to take anything in life for granted.”

Contact Mary Booth at [email protected]