Contributed by University of Wisconsin-Madison PARDEEVILLE – For twin brothers Cogan and Cole Kirchenwitz, joining the U.S. Marine Corps continues a family legacy, but the road ahead is the result of decisions they made entirely on their own.
The Pardeeville brothers, 22, received their commissioning certificates in May in a ceremony after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Reserve Officers Training Corps. They were among 35 graduates who completed ROTC training, and in the military they will follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather.
Their father, retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Patrick Kirchenwitz, in the ceremony presented his sons with 2nd lieutenant gold bars and their first salute.
“This is pretty big to see both my sons being commissioned today,” he said in a news release from the school. “It’s legacy stuff – my dad was in, I was in. It continues to build on our family’s military legacy.
“You have to give a little bit to get something back.”
Patrick Kirchenwitz’s father – Charlie Kirchenwitz, who also attended the ceremony — served as a U.S. Navy radarman, 2nd Class, on board the cruiser Canberra in the blockade against the Soviet Union during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
“To have this chance to celebrate our accomplishment in this way, finally, is very rewarding,” Cole said.
“Obviously we’re super proud to carry on the tradition,” Cogan said.
“There wasn’t any push for it (from family).”
The brothers – 2013 Pardeeville High School graduates – will report to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia on Sept. 11, a date Cogan said was “totally random.”
“Terrorism honestly didn’t (factor into our decision),” Cogan said. “There are a lot of reasons (we joined). I think the number-one reason is the things that we have in Western society—not necessary as Americans, but the West in general—the things we have that deserve to be protected.
“We have so much here, we have freedoms, we have liberties and that’s not something the rest of the world can say. Those are sacred and deserve to be protected. This is the society that raised me, and I feel like I have a duty to protect those things.”
The brothers will attend basic school in Quantico for six months before going to Pensacola, Florida, for flight school at a naval air station. Cogan estimated they’d be in Florida for two to three years.Cogan said he has wanted to join the military since he was 5 years old, a possible path that became “more serious” as he advanced to middle school.Cogan and Cole are both pursuing aviation contracts, Cogan said. Career opportunities for the brothers will be varied, Cogan added, noting that in Quantico the brothers will “get to see the ground community and try some things out, to see what we like.”The twins moved to the Pardeeville area from Detroit with their family when they were 3 years old. Cogan admitted he has “no idea” whether he’d eventually make it back to Pardeeville after the military – but wouldn’t rule it out either.“I do really like Wisconsin, and this […]