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U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Michael S. Beasley Brothers Fly through Iraq Together

By Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing AL ASAD, Iraq, Jan. 3, 2006 - They mirrored each other growing up. From sports, both playing quarterback for their high school teams, to school, both active in student leadership, to joining the Marine Corps and becoming CH-53 pilots, they are brothers, best friends and Marines. Now, together at Al Asad, Iraq, Capt. Michael S. Beasley, the intelligence officer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, and his younger brother, 1st Lt. Mark P. Beasley, the morale officer with HMH-466, share the unique experience of flying in the same squadron while deployed to a combat environment. [caption id="attachment_3196" align="alignleft" width="308"]iraq_01.03.06_brothers_fly_together U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Michael S. Beasley (right), the intelligence officer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, and his younger brother 1st Lt. Mark P. Beasley, the morale officer with HMH-466, are able to share the unique experience of flying in the same squadron while deployed in a combat environment together at Al Asad, Iraq. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan[/caption] We try to eat at least one meal together a day," said Michael, who is serving his second tour in Iraq. "We will catch up on what we have been doing and catch up on brotherly stuff as well. We try and consolidate our phone calls back home and keep everyone updated on how we are doing." The Beasley brothers are natives of Placerville, Calif.. They said their father Pat Beasley, mother Kathy Beasley and older sister Tara Beasley all share a common interest in aviation."We try to eat at least one meal together a day," said Michael, who is serving his second tour in Iraq. "We will catch up on what we have been doing and catch up on brotherly stuff as well. We try and consolidate our phone calls back home and keep everyone updated on how we are doing." "When we were kids, our dad flew Cessnas," said Michael. "All of them back home think it's cool we are here together. They are real patriotic and proud of what we are doing." Michael began his career when he enlisted in the Marine Corps during 1994 as an aircraft recovery specialist. Working airfields by day and going to college at night, he earned his degree and his commission as a pilot through the enlisted commissioning program. "Seeing Michael graduate from boot camp was inspiring, it got me interested in the Marine Corps," said Mark. "I saw the esprit de corps, the motivation level and the way they pushed physical fitness. As far as compared to the other services, I wanted to join the best." Mark earned a Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship to Oklahoma University, and upon graduation, joined the Marine Corps. During January 2005, he reported to HMH-466 and joined his brother, who had been there since December 2004. "We were just lucky to get stationed together," said Michael. "We don't fly together, or even fly in the same section. Imagine having a brother trying to tell you what to do, or trying to keep your focus while worried about what the other is doing." Lt. Col. John H. Celigoy, the commanding officer of HMH-466, said the Beasleys bring a very positive dynamic to the squadron and the ready room. "They are both great Marines," said Celigoy. "Since (Michael) is the older brother, they seem to take on that older, younger sibling role. They look out for each other. They have a strong relationship that brings a lot to the squadron. It's our pleasure to have them in the squadron, and an honor to serve with them. " While Celigoy said it is definitely unique to have two brothers in the same squadron, he said they are professional Marine officers, who never let their personal relationship get in the way of their mission. "Obviously, there is some risk in our profession," said Celigoy. "I am not willing to place undue burden on one family. This squadron can execute its mission without them flying in the same cockpit. It's also a promise I made to their father before we deployed. I have no intention of breaking a promise made to a Marine's parent." Around the squadron, the Beasley brothers said Michael is more talkative and Mark is more reserved and quiet. They also said the Marines of HMH-466 who don't see them daily often confuse them. But, they said it doesn't bother them, and Mark said it's good having someone who's a little senior who can give him the inside scoop on how everything works. "They look like brothers, but they have very different personalities," said Celigoy. "They both strive to be the best pilots and Marines they can be. They also both think they are experts on the subject of football and can often be found debating the final points of the game. (Mark) is a University of Oklahoma graduate. So naturally, he's going through some tough times with the performance of the Sooners lately." The brothers said it's only natural for them to be flying the same aircraft in the same squadron. They said the Marine Corps is like a family, but it's nice to be in the same squadron with a brother you grew up with. They also said they both have the loves of their lives waiting for them in the United States. Mark is married to Melissa, and Michael is engaged to his girlfriend of six years, Sharice Smart. They said everyone back home was happy they were able to celebrate the holidays together, and just like when they were children playing football or going to school together, they can depend on each other for anything. U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Michael S. Beasley (right), the intelligence officer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, and his younger brother 1st Lt. Mark P. Beasley, the morale officer with HMH-466, are able to share the unique experience of flying in the same squadron while deployed in a combat environment together at Al Asad, Iraq. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan
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