Marine Brothers: Siblings serving in Afghanistan

Marines call each other "brother," but in the Lone Star Battalion, there are five actual sets of brothers, all serving together in Afghanistan. Lara Logan reports.

It's not unusual for Marines to call each other "brother," but in one battalion in Afghanistan, many of the troops are also blood brothers. In fact, there are five sets of brothers in the Lone Star Battalion. This posed a problem for their commanding officer, who didn't want to send brothers together into combat, fearing the impact on the family if both were killed in war. Yet for the young men, it's a comfort having their brother at their side. Lara Logan reports from Afghanistan.


The following is a script of "Marine Brothers" which aired on Jan. 8, 2012. Lara Logan is the correspondent. Tom Anderson, producer.

In World War II, there were five brothers serving on a battleship in the Pacific that was attacked by the Japanese. Their name was Sullivan. The Sullivan brothers and their story has become part of American folklore because they all died. That was more than 60 years ago, but their deaths cast a shadow that still hangs over military commanders today and they do everything they can to prevent siblings from going to war together.

There's no official military policy, but it's an unwritten rule. Which is why it may surprise you, as it did us, to find five sets of brothers - all Marines - serving together in the same battalion in Afghanistan.

We tracked them down to the edge of an unforgiving desert in the south of the country, where we met the Beans brothers - two fourth generation Marines who went to extraordinary lengths to go to war together.

We have covered a lot of stories on the war in Afghanistan on "60 Minutes." But this is not a story about war and battle. It's a story about brothers.

Daniel Beans: We kinda felt like we had something to give back to our country. You know, we saw the legacy that we were handed down. And we kinda realized - but without being pushed - but we just kinda realized that, you know, there's so many other people that have given so much more than we did that we can enjoy the life that we enjoy.

This is not the first time the Beans brothers have served together. Daniel, or Big Beans as he's called and his younger brother Joshua, known as Little Beans, were in Iraq three years ago.

Daniel Beans: It was like being with your best friend, you know. We literally, we slept right next to each other. You know, we had...we lived in a little mud hut. But you know, we had a little plywood wall. And I lived on one side and he lived on the other. And that was, you know, pretty much how we lived for seven months.

Lara Logan: Did you talk to each other through that wall?

Joshua Beans: Sometimes I would, sometimes I would knock really softly and wake him up in the mornings.

Logan: You were like his live alarm clock?

Joshua Beans: No. I just, every once in a while I'd knock and make sure he was still there.

The Beans brothers weren't home from Iraq very long when they decided they wanted to go to Afghanistan together. President Obama had just announced he was sending 30,000 more troops to fight there, but the brothers' Marine Reserve Unit in Florida wasn't scheduled to deploy. So they spent the next two years searching for one that was and found the Lone Star Battalion in Texas. The problem was, to serve with that unit they had to come up with a story and an address in Texas.

Daniel Beans: We were opening up a lawn care business in Plano, Texas. That was our reasoning for makin' the move.

Joshua Beans: We had to-- we had to have a reason to move to Texas and join that unit. So--

Daniel Beans: He worked the weed whacker.

Joshua Beans: So I-- that's what we decided we were gonna do is we moved to Plano, Texas, which I still to this day don't know where that is.

Daniel Beans: No idea.

Logan: That's a lotta trouble to go to, to go and fight in a war that not many Americans believe is worth fighting these days?

Daniel Beans: That's the great thing about America. Everybody's entitled to their opinion.

Lt. Col. Todd Zink had an opinion and it wasn't one the brothers would like. As their new commanding officer, he did not think they should serve together and decided immediately to separate them.

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More from 60 Minutes

Comments