Montgomery, AL --
The Marine Corps is known for it’s brotherhood, family orientated mentality and Espirt de Corps, where every Marine is a part of a 233 year family tradition and will always have sisters and brothers to lean on no matter where they go.
For the Mumper boys, Bryan, 26, Matthew, 24 and Michael Jr., 19, who were best friends and brothers that did everything together it was these shared values that attracted them to the Corps.
Their father was 13 year Army veteran and they are self confessed Army brats growing up all over the country and ultimately relying on each other for friendship.
When they finally settled down in Ashland in 1998, they were rarely seen with one another. But in 2002, the eldest Mumper, Bryan, decided to follow path of their father and serve his country. In true brotherly fashion, one by one they all got their eagle, globe and anchor.
“I knew I wanted to join the military, but it all came down to which service,” Bryan remembered. “My father encouraged me to talk to all the branches, but the Marine recruited was the only one who made an effort to contact me. I lived out in the sticks (country) and they were the first and only people who came out to see me.”
After being in the delayed entry program for a year, Bryan was preparing to ship out in July 2002, but not before his younger brother, announced his future plans.
“I depped in the same day he shipped out for boot camp,” Matthew said,” but it was when I saw him graduate and saw all the discipline it instilled in him after only three months later it really confirmed my decision to be a Marine.”
“I felt proud, that I had set a positive example for them,” Bryan said. “We were close growing up but we were even closer after he joined the Corps.”
In their first few years, Bryan was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, while Matthew was stationed in Yuma, Arizona both working in the Motor Transportation field. Even with the distance they made sure that they were home for every big holiday it was a big reunion for them.
“It was great to be back together at home and our parents were all excited,” the Matthew, a 2004 Clay County High School graduate, said smiling. “Especially my mom, she is a real Marine mom, flags, stickers and all.”
They eventually, deployed to Camp Taqaddum, Iraq at the same in 2005, with Bryan switching job fields to work as an Expeditionary Airfield Technician and Matthew working as the Motor Transportation chief. Even at work the brothers found time to be together.
“We went on convoy operations together and it was like being at home all over again,” said Bryan, a 2002 Clay County High School graduate. “We talked about other things instead of our current circumstances which helped during they deployment.”
While the two oldest brothers were away, the youngest stayed behind in the small town and for the first time his brothers were not around for him to follow.
“I felt very lonely after Matt (hew) left because I followed him around everywhere and missed all of us hanging out and then we weren't together anymore,” said Michael. “No one really understood my situation because most of their families were near by while mine was spread out.”
Michael looked forward to holidays since he knew they were a guarantee that he and his brothers would be reunited.
“I saw how well they were doing, how more outgoing they were and more respectful,” Michael. “I listened to them talk about their life experiences and I wanted to be just like them.
After graduating Clay County High School in 2008, Matthew earned an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. However, his college experience did not go as he had planned.
“I did not have the discipline and really wasn't interested in college at that point,” Michael said. “I just wanted to go and be with my brothers.”
By this time, Matthew had returned to Alabama as a recruiter and was working in Vestavia Hills office when he got call from his little brother that wasn't family related.
“I was surprised he called because I had spoken to him before and he wasn't interested at all,” Matthew said. “I gave an informal presentation to my parents, like I would any other applicant and surprisingly they had the same questions as other parents.”
As Matthew prepared Michael for boot camp, he also was preparing his older brother for his upcoming tour on recruiting duty in the nearby Gadsden, AL., office. A change of pace since he had been on the receiving end of the advice not too long ago.
“I am extremely of my proud brothers! With Mikey, becoming a Marine, it's like he is part of my new family. Matthew came out here and is having a successful recruiting tour and even has received a meritorious promotion to Staff Sergeant,” Sgt Bryan T. Mumper said. “I don't let pride get in my way from getting pointers to help make me a better recruiter.”
“When we are at home we are just as we were growing up,” Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Mumper. “There is no rank at home and we don't let it affect our working environment because we are professionals.”
“I think it's funny,” said Michael smiling, as his brothers glare at him, but then break out in laughter.
The brothers hang out and work together during Michael's boot leave while he prepares for his new life in the Corps he knows that he has his two older brothers are their in his new family to watch over him and guide him just like it was when they were growing up. It's evidence that the Mumper boys are truly back together again.