FORWARD OPERATING BASE WRIGHT, Afghanistan – A pair of brothers from Winder, Ga., had the chance to experience a milestone moment with a coincidental crossing of paths during their deployment to Afghanistan.Army 2nd Lt. Karl F. Knowlton, an air mobility deputy with Task Force Lifeliner, was able to promote his brother and fellow soldier, Sgt. George C. Knowlton, to sergeant.
“Being able to come out here and put those stripes on my older brother’s chest, … it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime chances you’re never going to have the opportunity to do,” the lieutenant said.
A team leader with the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the new sergeant said he’s proud to be a noncommissioned officer.
“Now that I’m an NCO, with these stripes comes a lot of responsibilities, but it’s also the power to effect positive change -- especially on the junior lower enlisted, new guys in the Army that really need guidance and help,” he said.
Younger brothers usually look up to an older brother for leadership and direction, but for the Knowlton brothers, the younger brother has filled those boots. Sergeant Knowlton expressed a desire to follow the leadership example of his younger brother.
“Some of the qualities of my brother I would like to emulate are taking care of my troops as well as he does, being hard-working and doing the right thing,” he said of the lieutenant. “You know he always does the right thing, so I’d really like to be like him.”
The brothers said they grew up in in a hardworking, traditional household with parents who were hard on them, but always fair. They learned from an early age about the importance of hard work and most importantly good ethics were instilled in everything they did, they added.
During their childhood, they found themselves wearing the uniform long before they had joined the Army.
“When we were little, all we did was play Army -- pretty much day in and day out, that’s what we did," Lieutenant Knowlton said. They didn’t have video games, he added, so they had to make their own fun.
Although they fought like any other competitive young set of siblings, the brothers said, they matured and so did their relationship.
The brothers continued to develop similar interests, crossing paths in nearly everything they did, they said, and their friendly, but competitive relationship always showed through. Karl races jeeps in the desert, while George does road racing on motorcycles.
“[Karl is] about to get a motorcycle, and I just got a new one, so hopefully when we get back stateside we’ll be able to go ride together,” George said.
Although the first couple of years in the military were kind of rough, the brothers said, they found a way to connect through the distance.
“So having this opportunity to be this close and actually be able to talk to each other is nice,” Karl said, “because even though we’re not seeing each other every day, we do get to communicate.”
The new sergeant likened his brother’s participation in his promotion ceremony to a family holiday. “It’ll be my Christmas of the deployment,” he said. “That’s what Christmas [or] Thanksgiving is all about -- being with your families. So we’ll both be working for the holidays, but it’s as close as we’re going to get. So I’m going to really enjoy it [and] take it to heart.”