Identical twin brothers Pvt. Matthew Maurino and Spc. Joseph Maurino are deployed to Qatar together and they say that makes it easier to be away from home.

“You don’t feel as far away from home when your brother’s here. Especially your twin,” Matthew, an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment, said in an Army release. “It feels like I got a cheat code for a deployment.”

Both brothers serve as part of the security forces element for Area Support Group-Qatar. They found themselves filling up the last two open spots at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar after Matthew was placed into one of the two spots when he was attending one-station unit training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

When the opportunity arose for the brothers to deploy together, they knew there was no doubt about it. “Before he (Matthew) even was finished with OSUT, I knew was going on the deployment,” Joseph, an infantryman with the New Jersey Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1-114th, said in the release.

While deployed, the natives of Manalapan, New Jersey spend time together, smoking cigars and going to the movies on their days off. The brothers, born less than three minutes apart, also make up for any lost time spent apart while working.

“Usually we’ll just knock on each other’s door at obscene hours of the day like 1 o’clock in the morning. I’ll get over there and he’ll blast some music as he’s telling me all these crazy stories he had. ... Either me doing it or he’s doing it," Joseph said.

“You miss out on a lot, as a twin especially, when they’re so far away and you don’t have time to talk,” he said. “Now that he’s here, I don’t really lose that. I’m not nearly as homesick as I would be."

Joseph’s start into the Army came somewhat unexpectedly, by needing something to write with for a class. “I basically was at lunch one day and a recruiter was there and I needed a pen for class and I took it,” Joseph said in the release. After that, Joseph spent time talking with the recruiter before making the Army his next step after graduating high school in 2017.

Matthew knew he wanted to serve his country since he was a young boy, but didn’t expect it would be before finishing up a college degree.

“I didn’t plan on joining so soon, I planned on going to college first. But my brother came back and I saw him in his nice uniform and I said, you know what, I might as well join up now, get some excitement going and go to college when I get back,” Matthew said in the release.

They still enjoy keeping connected with their family at home in New Jersey. They each strive to keep alive a plant in a small pot that their mother sent them.

“Me and Joe we make sure that this grass plant is in the best condition possible. We try to make this grass plant survive as long as possible,” Matthew said in the release.

After their time in Qatar is up, Matthew and Jospeh plan to continue serving.

Matthew has already set his sights on earning a college degree to become an officer, while Joseph is pursuing his college degree and plans to move back to New Jersey and join the New Jersey State Police.