Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jaye Townsend, left, a combat videographer with 1st Marine Division, and Sgt. Jack Townsend, a squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st MARDIV, pose for a photo at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, April 23, 2024. Jaye and Jack are twins who joined the Marine Corps weeks apart and are both stationed on the West Coast. The Townsends are natives of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Willow Marshall)

Photo by Cpl. Willow Marshall

Twins of the Blue Diamond

1 Jul 2024 | Story by Cpl. Willow Marshall 1st Marine Division

Many people have theorized about the connection between twins, and how it oftentimes seems to go beyond the bonds normally built between siblings.

Two Marines serving in the 1st Marine Division have relied on their bond as twins to help tackle the challenges of building successful careers as Marines, looking to each other as their service took them across the country and around the world.

“I’m so proud to be in the Marine Corps with my brother, especially simultaneously becoming the first to serve in our immediate family,” said Cpl. Jaye Townsend, a combat videographer with 1st MARDIV. “It’s almost surreal that we both made it into the Blue Diamond together rather than being stationed across the world from each other.”

Jaye was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, June 28, 2002, shortly before midnight. She was followed by her twin brother, Jack Townsend, about 36 minutes later on June 29. Sgt. Jack Townsend currently serves as a squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st MARDIV.

Jaye enlisted into the delayed entry program in June, 2020, followed by Jack a few months later. However, it was Jack who went to recruit training first, leaving for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, in December 2020. Jaye left for MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, in late January 2021, about seven weeks later. To, keep in touch with one another, they wrote letters back and forth.

“When I was in basic training, it was fun getting letters from my sister because she was a few weeks behind me and I always liked hearing how she felt after doing the things I had already done,” explained Jack. “Having someone that can relate to what you’re going through was a big help.”

Jaye graduated bootcamp in April 2021 and moved on to Marine Combat Training in North Carolina, which she graduated from in May. Jack, on the other hand, graduated from recruit training in March 2021 and moved on to infantry training at marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, which he graduated from in June. Later that month, Jaye and Jack were reunited while on recruiter’s assistance before Jaye left for Maryland to become a combat videographer.

“I felt closer to him than ever after being apart for six-plus months, knowing what he had been going through, despite being across the country from him,” said Jaye. “We had our own secret language in the family now.”

After Jack received orders to Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, as a rifleman with 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, Jaye looked forward to seeing where she would get stationed. As her graduation from her military occupation specialty school approached, she received orders to Camp Pendleton. Unlike many Marine Corps siblings, Jaye and Jack were fortunate enough to be stationed only a few hours away from each other.

“I have always been grateful that they are both on the same coast,” explained Ann Townsend, Jaye and Jack’s mother. “As independent and strong as they have become, I feel that the possibility of family being near can always provide a sense of comfort.”

Although they had the comfort of being on the same coast, they both had obligations to their respective jobs to go on various exercises and deployments. There were times when they were minutes apart and others when they were thousands of miles away.

The Townsends have been through many ups and downs in the Corps, both together during battalion and service level training exercises and apart during Jaye’s nine-month deployment to South Korea, supporting Marine Corps Forces Korea, and Jack’s six-month deployment to Japan as part of the unit deployment program.

“My sister and I often talk about the different experiences we have had whether it be good or bad,” said Jack. “And although being in the infantry as opposed to Communication Strategy and Operations offers different challenges, we can understand each other and help because in a lot of ways they are the same.”

I Marine Expeditionary Force