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Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force

Brothers in blood, Brothers in arms: Integrated Task Force siblings recount experiences

By | | March 11, 2015


It is not uncommon for American families to make service to their nation a proud tradition. Marines all across the Corps may have siblings serving in any of the armed forces of the United States. Within the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, two Marines share the distinct honor of serving both their country and their family by being in the same unit.

Lance Cpl. Ariel A. Torrico, tank driver, Tank Platoon; and Lance Cpl. Ned Torrico, amphibious assault vehicle crewman, AAV Platoon, both with Company B, GCEITF, are former residents of Wesley Chapel, Florida, whom found themselves volunteering by chance to be a part of the task force.

“We grew up in Bolivia, and moved to the United States when I was nine and Ned was four,” Ariel said. “We moved to Rhode Island first and then to Florida.”

Ariel, being the older brother of the two, finished school and went on to college, with ambitions in the culinary arts field and the restaurant business. However, his plans were put on hold not long after.        

“Funds came up short to continue my education,” Ariel said. “And Ned kept talking about joining the military.”

Around this time, Ned was in the 10th grade and had recently walked into a Marine Corps recruiting office for the first time.

“I was thinking of my friend Kyle, whom is now serving in the infantry,” Ned said. “His father was a Marine, and had a distinct attitude. I was exposed to that at a young age and I wanted to be that.”

Ned enlisted as a reservist after graduating from high school. Ariel, coupled with his education on hiatus and his brother having made his decision, decided to follow suit with an active duty contract.

“I won’t lie, I was considering joining the Army,” Ariel said.

Ned’s tough brotherly love pressured him to do otherwise.

Due to an error in the spelling of their last name, Ned was the first to ship to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in November 2012, joining Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Ariel departed approximately one month after, reporting to Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.

Then, one Sunday morning, the two were reunited at religious services.

“I almost cried when I saw (Ariel),” Ned said. I was so happy.”

The two brothers spent precious time together every Sunday that followed, up until their respective graduation dates. After both brothers completed Marine Combat Training aboard Camp Geiger, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Ned earned his military occupational specialty as an AAV crewman after completing school at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, and reported to his reserve unit, 4th Assault Amphibious Battalion in Gandy, Florida.

Ariel would go on to complete tanker school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then return to Camp Lejeune as the newest Marine in 2nd Tank Battalion. He used his status as a tanker to jokingly pick on Ned, and vice versa.

“We got out of the schoolhouse thinking we were better than the other,” Ariel said.

“There has always been a rivalry,” Ned said. “We are brothers and it’s just what brothers do.”

As time went on, Ariel’s tank platoon was one day addressed by their commander about a new unit that was standing up and accepting volunteers from multiple combat arms MOSes, one of which was tank crewman. He soon found that he wasn’t the only one thinking about volunteering.

“I signed up alongside several of my buddies,” Ariel said. “Then, my own brother calls a week later telling me he was coming to (MCB Camp Lejeune).”

Both brothers officially reported to the task force in October 2014. Throughout the unit’s time at MCB Camp Lejeune and now, in MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, the brothers have enjoyed each other’s company and the training they have received in their respective platoons.

Through their separation resulting in Ned remaining in Florida as a reservist and Ariel in the operating forces, the two felt the interruption of their lives as siblings with a bittersweet impact. Now, the two are training aboard Range 500 of MCAGCC, and making memories together, as they did when they were children.

“It’s fun being around (Ned) now,” Ariel said. “He keeps me on my toes. Here we are now, up to our old brotherly antics again.”

“I know that when we are done with the Marine Corps, we will go our separate ways,” Ned said.  “But we will always be brothers.”

From October 2014 to July 2015, the GCEITF will conduct individual and collective level skills training in designated ground combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards-based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.