Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – There are more than 3,000 Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), all with unique backgrounds and different life experiences. They come together aboard a U.S. Navy ship and find common ground.

However some Sailors, like Operations Specialist (OS) Seaman Jonathon Garrison and Air Traffic Controller (AC) Airman Apprentice Tyler Garrison, from Tigard, Ore., are more similar than others. These brothers are identical twins stationed aboard Stennis.

“[Being a twin is] hard to describe,” said Tyler. “It’s like you have a best friend that you hate with a burning passion, but you love him all the same.”

The brothers anticipated spending the duration of their Navy careers apart until a string of coincidences sent them both to Stennis.

Both brothers entered the delayed entry program together but intentionally left for Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill., at separate times. Jonathon left three weeks before Tyler. There was a period of overlap when the brothers would see each other on Sundays at church.

“It was funny when my brother graduated,” said Tyler. “Everyone from my division ran up to him and said, ‘Garrison, why do you have your 8-point [cover] on? What are you doing?'”

After boot camp Jonathon stayed at Great Lakes for AC “A” school while Tyler went to Pensacola, Fla. for OS “A” School. The period they were at their schools was the longest time they had been apart. Aside from leave, the brothers weren’t planning on seeing each other any time soon.

“I had orders to Bahrain to do anti-piracy on USS Thunderbolt (PC-12),” said Jonathon. “But I didn’t pass the second class swim test so they pulled my orders and put me on hold.”

After three months, Jonathon finally received a call from a detailer. He was going to Stennis.

When he called his mother to tell her the good news, she had news for him too. Tyler already had orders to the same ship.

The brothers reunited in February 2015.

“You get friends throughout life,” said Tyler, “but when you have a twin brother, you don’t have to go searching for a friend because you always have one.”

Together again, Jonathon and Tyler hang out with each other and their friends while in port. Underway, things are different. Both have different jobs and not as much time to spend together, but still manage to squeeze it in when they can.

They have differing personalities and interests, but they also share overlapping hobbies. Tyler prefers computers, while Jonathon enjoys working with his hands. Both like playing videogames and just chilling out.

Eventually Tyler plans to put in a package for the Seaman to Admiral program. It’s been his dream to be a pilot after seeing a jet on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier at five years old.

“It’s pretty much been planes since then for him,” said Jonathon.

Jonathon is keeping his options open, considering a future as an officer or a chief.

“[Jonathon’s] always been a natural leader, compared to me,” said Tyler. “He kind of stepped into the leadership role as the oldest and helped my mom a lot while she transitioned between being a stay-at-home mom to having to find a job.”

While they’re together now, their paths will eventually diverge again, taking them separate places.