AL TAQADDUM, Iraq --
Upon receiving the eagle, globe and anchor, one instantly inherits a family of about 180,000 strong.
From the yellow footprints to the fleet and beyond, Marines build bonds with each other. They build camaraderie that only fraternal family members understand. Every so often, siblings serve alongside each other in the same unit-- even in combat.
This time, a coincidental series of events brought two brothers together and gave them the opportunity to serve in Iraq with the same unit.
Sergeants Lukhma and Bakhit McBride of Combat Logistics Battalion 13 were born two years apart in N’djamena, Chad. Lukhma, the oldest, came to the United States in pursuit of higher education after graduating high school. A few months later, Bakhit followed suite and came to the U. S. where he finished his last two years of high school. Instead of college, Lukhma decided to enlist in the Marine Corps in the fall of 2000. Two years later Bakhit found himself standing on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, just as his older brother had.
“Going into the Marine Corps was always the primary option for me,” says Bakhit.
Over the next years, the McBride brothers began to come into their own as Marines, excelling in their respective military occupational specialties.
The brother’s paths eventually came together in the fall of 2006 when Lukhma returned to Camp Pendleton where Bakhit was already participating in pre-deployment training with CLB- 13, as the utilities chief in the engineer detachment.
“While I was on leave, my Gunny asked me if I would deploy with CLB on the 13th MEU due to an urgent need for a sergeant wire chief,” said Lukhma. “Needless to say, here I am.”
After arriving in Iraq and setting up, Lukhma requested to be attached to Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, at Combat Outpost Golden. His request was granted and he is now the commanding officer’s interpreter in the personal security detachment.
“I was born in and raised in a predominately Muslim country in northern Africa,” said Lukhma. “My understanding of the Arab culture and proficiency in the language was something that I couldn’t just let go to waste.”
Bakhit, who keeps things running smoothly with the engineer detachment at COP Golden, feels extremely privileged to be able to serve with his older brother in Iraq.
“I am a better sergeant today because of my brother’s actions of yesterday,” said Bakhit. “He’s always been the one I wanted to be like and I’ve always wanted to impress him.”
Lukhma, though the elder of the two, says that he finds motivation in the performance and conduct of his brother.
“My current motivation is my brother Bakhit, who I share leadership styles with,” said Lukhma. “The best thing about being here with my brother is that we constantly keep each other on our toes. Just as steel sharpens steel, we sharpen each other.”
After returning to the states, the McBride brothers will have another chance to keep each other motivated, as they have both been accepted for drill instructor school in June of next year.
Both brothers believe that it is their duty to pass on to future Marines the values and traditions the institution was founded on in honor of warriors that have come before them and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
With great Marines like the McBride brothers having a hand in the development of Marines, all can rest assure the future of the Corps is well at hand.