WASHINGTON -- A chance meeting brought identical twin Marines Scott and Kevin Siska together in Kuwait a few months ago.
Lance Cpl. Scott Siska was in Kuwait on his way home to Camp Pendleton, Calif., with the Marine Corps' 1st Service Support Group after a seven-month tour in Iraq. Lance Cpl. Kevin Siska was headed into Iraq with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion's Company C, Weapons Platoon, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., for a similar tour.
The brothers' mother, Carol Siska of Mantua, Ohio, said she had hoped her 20-year-old sons would get a chance to see each other while they were in Kuwait, but she knew the chances were slim. And they got slimmer and slimmer as Scott's return date kept changing.
"On (Scott's) deployment schedule everyday there were two groups that were being sent from his base (in Iraq) into Kuwait. First it was going to be March 5, and then it was going to be (a later date). You know, it kept fluctuating back and forth and changing," Carol said. "We knew Kevin was leaving (Camp Lejeune) March 7 and that he'd go right to Kuwait."
Scott had left a message on his brother's cell phone saying he had good news and bad news. His unit was finally heading to Kuwait but wouldn't be there until March 8. He figured he would probably miss Kevin.
As Scott tells it, his unit had finally gotten into Kuwait and took the opportunity during the brief stop to eat. He struck up a conversation with another group of Marines at the table. When he found out they were from Lejeune and what unit they were with, he asked if they knew "Siska".
"They looked at me, and they're like, 'You are Siska,'" he said. "They thought they were already talking to (my brother). They had no clue."
When they put two and two together, one of the Lejeune Marines told Scott to stay put.
Scott didn't quite understand why, but he stayed put. Shortly he heard the sound of feet running up behind him and saw the expression of the Marines sitting across from him. The Marine had gone to find his brother.
"I couldn't say anything," Scott said. "I was just totally amazed that he was there."
It had been nearly a year and a half between the brothers' paths crossing at boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., and their reunion in Kuwait, Carol said.
"They went into boot camp at different times," she said, noting they had a one-week overlap at boot camp. "That's when they saw each other 14 months ago."
The chance meeting was "real good," Scott said.
"I wanted to see him just because I hadn't seen him," Scott said. "And it may be crude to some people, but it's the Marine Corps and that might have been one of the last times I could have seen him. People say, 'Oh, don't talk like that.' If you're going somewhere, you better make it like it's your last (visit).
"So to me it was real good to see him just in case. For him, I think it was real good to see me to know that I made it through it, so he can make it through it," Scott said.
He offered some advice to Kevin: "Keep (your) head up. Keep it down when it counts.
"That's all I can really say to him," Scott said. "He'll make it through it. I know he will."
They didn't talk about Scott's experiences near Fallujah except in the most basic sense. Carol said that the brothers told her they mostly talked about family.
"Kevin was really nervous about going over there because he is infantry," she said. "So I'm really glad they got to see each other. I think it was comforting for both of them just to be able to see each other again."
Carol said she's confident that Kevin knows his job. That still won't keep her from worrying until at least October when Kevin, who is stationed near Anbar province, expects his tour in Iraq to end.
"He's good at what he does," she said. "I know he's well-trained."
As for what the future holds for her boys in regard to the Marine Corps, she said she isn't sure.
"Scott, I think, is a lifer. Kevin? I can't answer that," she said. "A lot of it will depend on his experiences."
For now, Carol said, she's happy the brothers got a chance to see each other and is hopeful that they will be reunited once again at Kevin's wedding, which is planned for around the Thanksgiving holiday.