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Army brothers embark on Baghdad mission

Throughout their military careers, Army Staff Sgt. Shane Hansen and his brother, Army Sgt. 1st Class Zane Hansen, have always been on opposite sides of the world.

Over the years, as they got married, had children and were stationed in different places, they haven’t had many chances to see each other. But an unexpected mission change, combined with a little good fortune, brought them together in Iraq.

Shane, who is stationed in Katterbach, Germany, deployed to Logistics Support Area Anaconda in July; Zane, who is stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, learned in November his unit also would deploy to Iraq.

When Task Force 12 received the mission of becoming the aviation task force for Multinational Division Baghdad, the Hansen brothers found their first opportunity to be stationed together.

“I was excited when I found out we would be here together, because the last time I saw (Zane), before this deployment, was at our parents’ house in August of 2004,” said Shane, a section sergeant in Company D, 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. “We usually get to see each other about once every five years.”

Even though the brothers, natives of Wichita, Kan., live and work less than a half mile away from each other here, they still remain worlds apart.

“Right now, I’m working night shift, and (Shane) works day shift; it seems like every time my shift changes, so does his,” said Zane, a platoon sergeant in Troop T, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. “Since we’ve been stationed here together, we’ve only seen each other about three or four times.”

“Our different shifts and different ‘reset’ days makes it difficult to see each other unless we really put forth an effort to going over to where the other one works,” said Shane, who has been in the Army for 12 years.

Their families have mixed feelings about the brothers being stationed together in Iraq.

“Our wives are happy that we are stationed here together, because they feel we have someone to talk to,” said Shane, a UH-60 Black Hawk maintainer. “Our parents don’t like the idea of us being here together, because if something happens, it might happen to both of us; but our older sister isn’t too worried about us being here.”

Both brothers are on their second deployment; Zane previously deployed to Bosnia and Shane to Afghanistan. Zane joined the Army a little more than a year before Shane.

“When I joined the Army in 1994, I got stationed in Korea,” said Zane, an AH-64D Apache Longbow maintainer. “When he joined the Army and got stationed in Hawaii, I was stationed in the states.”

Communicating with each other was difficult for the first couple of years because there was no Internet access; but now, it’s definitely gotten a lot better, Shane said.

Zane has been in aviation for his entire career, but Shane started out as a signal soldier.

“I really didn’t like that job, and Zane would always tell me about his job and all of the cool things he did,” said Shane. “He wasn’t the only reason I chose this job, but he definitely helped me make my decision.”

The brothers are living up to a long legacy of military service in their family. Their grandfathers served in the military during World War II. Their father also served in the Army; he joined shortly after the Vietnam War.

Growing up, they had plenty of good times mixed with a little bit of mischief, they said. Although they try to stay professional, and call each other “Sergeant Hansen” when around other soldiers, childhood memories sometimes resurface.

“All of (Zane’s) soldiers want to know about him,” Shane said. “Every once in a while, one of them will come up to me and ask me questions about him, and I’ll give them a tidbit of information about some of the things he did growing up.”

Shane has been selected for promotion to sergeant first class and said he would like to be stationed back in the United States in the future. Zane said he and his wife are discussing the idea of asking to go to Europe.

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