Army life a family affair for brothers from Mukilteo

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

EVERETT — One good enlistment deserves another, or so it seems for two brothers from Mukilteo.

Nick Borden, 32, encouraged his younger brother, Jeff Borden, 30, to join the Army seven years ago. Jeff, now an Army recruiter, repaid his older brother by recently enlisting Nick in the Army Reserve.

And neither brother has any regrets.

"I’d have to listen to him at Christmas time," Jeff said with a laugh, if he thought his big brother might regret his prodding.

Nick knew exactly what he was getting into, said Jeff, now of Marysville. Nick spent seven years in active duty, serving as an administrative specialist in Louisiana, South Carolina and Germany from 1986 to 1993.

Because of his previous military experience, Nick said he didn’t need much encouragement.

"It’s something that’s in my person, that I love to do and enjoy," said Nick, now of Everett. "I hate to sound like a red, white and blue fanatic, but I love my country. I don’t agree with a lot of things, but I believe in standing up for the things we believe in."

Nick is a member of the 47th Military History Detachment in Bothell, one of several in the country whose members archive Army history.

Nick said the brothers come by their love of the military naturally. Their father was in the Air Force, their uncle and stepfather had been in the Army, and their grandfather had been in the Army Air Corps.

"The military is pretty strong in my blood," Nick said.

During his active duty, Nick’s assignments varied, from driving around officers to dispatching military documents.

"I volunteered to go to Saudi," Nick said, but superiors said his position in Germany was too important.

When Jeff was between jobs and wondering what to do, Nick said he encouraged him to think about the Army.

"I think it’s the best way for any young adult to grow up," Nick said. "You learn self-confidence, discipline, respect for yourself and what you’re doing."

Jeff said he’d taken his big brother’s advice partly because the Army offered to train him in a skill he was interested in: imagery analysis, such as analyzing infrared or radar images.

"It was awesome," Jeff said of his two-year stint in military intelligence, stationed in Hawaii. His unit supported units throughout the Pacific Theater, sometimes providing information to the Pentagon or the White House, Jeff said.

After active duty, Jeff enlisted in the Reserve, working as a helicopter crew chief, stationed at Fort Lewis near Tacoma. After serving in the Everett recruitment center for three years, he’ll return to the helicopter position, he said.

Both brothers said they came back to the Army because they missed it.

"I missed the camaraderie more than anything," Jeff said.

Nick echoed the sentiment.

"Ever since coming back in, they (the other soldiers) warmed to me," Nick said. "You can pick up on a military person."

Jeff said ever since he joined the Reserve, he’d been encouraging his older brother to follow suit, talking up some of the benefits, such as access to military exchange stores and entrance to a military-only resort in Florida similar to Disney World.

The biggest selling point to Nick, who works as a postal employee, was the retirement benefits.

"I know I’ll be working for another good 15 years. I might as well collect military retirement at the same time," Nick said.

Like active-duty soldiers, those in the Reserve can collect retirement after 20 years of service. Unlike active-duty retirees, however, Reservists need to wait until age 60 before collecting retirement; active-duty retirees can collect it immediately after retiring.

Reservists normally work one weekend a month in their unit, as well as taking part in two weeks of training a year.

Nick said he also gets satisfaction knowing military history he collects is useful to others.

And overall, he said he gets a sense of purpose from serving in the military.

"It can be hard on your family, mentally, physically, but I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I can handle these kinds of stresses," Nick said.

"I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that if I get called upon (for combat) I could do what I need to do, and maybe others don’t want to do that."

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