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NEWS | March 20, 2017

A case of mistaken identity: Identical twins run crews at Op Cold Steel 2017

By Staff Sgt. Debralee Best 84th Training Command

FORT MCCOY, Wis, - The smallest details make it evident that Staff Sgt. Jeshua and Sgt. Gereld Moore are two different people. Gereld wears wire frames in his glasses while Jeshua’s are a slightly thicker, black plastic. The rank difference is sometimes a giveaway as well, but not always.

Gereld has been asked many times why he was demoted and Jeshua is constantly congratulated on Gereld’s promotion.

Currently, the two are at Operation Cold Steel at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, completing gunnery tables. The brothers are not on the same crews, though, but it’s not due to causing confusion, but on the chance they are mobilized, they would operate within their own platoons with the 327th Engineer Company, 416th Theater Engineer Command out of Onalaska, Wisconsin.

“The unit asked for volunteers. They were trying to set up a (noncommissioned officer) with a gunner and a driver to make a gun crew,” said Jeshua.

Since both are NCOs, the brothers volunteered.

“It’s extra time,” said Jeshua. “You don’t get a whole lot of crew-served time in the Reserve. It’s more crew-served time and extra training we wouldn’t normally get and then we can take that back to the unit and help train other soldiers on it, to be more proficient.”

Gereld volunteered because he doesn’t always see interesting activities in the Army and he thought Cold Steel would be fun.

“They’re not just going to pay you to do fun stuff all the time, but this is one those things that we get the chance to do more fun stuff like shooting machine guns,” he said.

Operation Cold Steel is the U.S. Army Reserve's crew-served weapons qualification and validation exercise to ensure that America's Army Reserve units and Soldiers are trained and ready to deploy on short-notice and bring combat-ready and lethal firepower in support of the Army and our joint partners anywhere in the world.

While at Operation Cold Steel, Jeshua ended up with the nickname, Big Moore, since he is higher in rank. But, while Jeshua may outrank Gereld, it is actually Gereld who is older by 2 minutes.

”So, the whole time growing up, he was a little older, he got to do everything first and got everything first. I joined the Army first and I outrank him so now I get to do everything first,” said Jeshua with a big grin.

Gereld responded with a shrug, a laugh and, “Sure.”

In reality, Jeshua wanted to join early in his childhood.

“I’d always wanted (to join) since I was little, but my parents wanted me to go to college so I got an associates degree and I worked for a couple of years and decided, ‘nope, still want to.’ At first my mom, she’s always been protective, she was against it at first. I told her, ‘I did what you wanted me to do. I went to college first. Now I still want to join.’ She got used to the idea when I was in basic training, she came to the graduation. She got used to the idea, then obviously just like any other parent, she was really proud and had no problem with it then.” Then he looked at Gereld and said jokingly, “Until you joined.”

Gereld joined three years later after getting the “early 20’s fun stuff” out of the way.

Gereld joined Jeshua’s unit and had some regrets within the first few hours of his first battle assembly.

“My first day in the unit, as a brand new private first class, right out of (advanced individual training), we got a new first sergeant that day. He didn’t know there were twins in the unit. He had his leadership meeting and saw all his NCOs. Never saw me. I was in the back of the platoon, back of the formation. After formation, we were told to go out and (conduct preventive maintenance checks and services on) the trucks. I was PMCSing the truck and I hear the first sergeant coming my way, yelling, ‘Sergeant Moore!’

Yelling louder and louder, getting closer and closer. I step down off the truck, he spins me around and yells, ‘Sergeant Moore, I’m talking to you!

Wait a minute, you were wearing sergeant rank this morning.’

‘No, first sergeant.’

‘Yes, you were! I saw you at my leadership meeting!’

’No, first sergeant.’

He pulled me in his office, he was going to put me in for impersonating a noncommissioned officer, lying to a noncommissioned officer, verbal disrespect to a noncommissioned officer. Not that I disrespected him, but when I started to stutter, I was shaking very badly. That was very scary for a new private.”

“Not even four hours into his first drill and the first sergeant is screaming at him,” laughed Jeshua.

“My platoon sergeant stood in the doorway, laughing as I was looking back for help and standing in front of the first sergeant’s desk,” added Gereld. “Finally someone came in and said, ‘no, that’s the twin, there’s two of them.’ It was a rough first day.”

This is only one of countless stories the twins, who call Lancaster, Wisconsin, home, have of mistaken identity.

Gereld had an entire lunch with one of Jeshua’s first sergeants and didn’t know until the end of the meal, it wasn’t Jeshua. Jeshua visited Gereld during a battle assembly and had a platoon leader give him tasks to complete.

When Gereld was being mobilized, Jeshua visited in civilian clothing and was told he had to be in uniform.

At this point, the siblings are used to it and just play it off.

“After this many years were pretty much used to it. Growing up, people getting us wrong and thinking we’re the other one,” said Jeshua. “I’m sure to this day there are some who didn’t realize they were talking to the wrong one.”