Faces of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit part 11

3 Jun 2012 | Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

Marines training during exercise Eager Lion 12 were seeing double in the desert.

Cpl. Chandra House, a military policeman with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Cpl. Chayna Blackwood, an intelligence analyst with Marine Forces Central Command, ended up together in a desert in Jordan by happenstance after more than a year of separation.

Once their commands found out the identical Houston, Texas, natives were in the same area they arranged to have them meet and spend some time together.

“Once the sergeant major found out my sister was in the area he drove me out to see her,” Blackwood said.

The sisters have served in the Marine Corps just short of five years. They said they decided to enlist in the Marine Corps because of strong ties to the military because of the high number of family members who serve.

“The military runs in our family,” House said. “Our dad was a chief in the Navy, our older sister joined the Army …

“We have a big patriotic family.”

The sisters enlisted using the buddy program, a program that allows enlistees to go through boot camp together. They went through boot camp and Marine Combat Training together. After their initial training, the Marines went to their respective military occupational specialty schools and have since only seen each other four times.

Originally, when they went to enlist Blackwood had put in to be a military policeman and House to be an intelligence analyst. Blackwood stands 62 inches tall which is three inches short of the height requirement to be a military policeman. House however is three inches taller than her sister allowing her to meet that requirement.

“We were set to go on our date for boot camp so they switched our packages for us,” House said. “She went intel and I went MP.”
“Maybe the recruiter knew best,” Blackwood said. “I absolutely love my job. I love intel. I love what I do.”

“I love being an MP,” House said. “I love everything about law enforcement.”

Now the sisters get to enjoy something profound few siblings experience. They are serving their country together at the same time on the same foreign soil during exercise Eager Lion 12.

“The Marine Corps has done so much for us,” House said. “Even though we have only seen each other a few times in the past few years it’s moments like this when we get to see each other, in Jordan of all places, on deployment away from home - that makes it all worth it.”