'Proud to Have Served Together'

As a pair of twins serving in the same division in a combat zone, the Farrell brothers of Rhode Island lived a unique experience during the Vietnam War

Twin brothers Kevin and William Farrell are Vietnam War veterans who served together in the 101st Airborne Division. Kevin served with A Co., 1st Bn., 327th Inf., and William was with A Co., 101st Aviation Bn. Between May and July 1971, they were both based at Camp Eagle in Phu Bai.

Kevin said that while he doesn’t believe it was rare that brothers served together in Vietnam, his and William’s experience was different.

“I believe it was extremely rare for identical twins to have served in combat with the same division at the same time,” he said. “When I first got to Vietnam, my twin was already there, and they asked if I had any relatives in country, and I told them, ‘yes.’ Right then, I was told either one of us could have gone home, which neither one would do. When I said, “no,” and I knew Bill did not want to leave, they said they would try to assign us close to each other. At the time, I did not know it would be the same division.”

Twin brothers who served in Vietnam together
Kevin Farrell, left, and his twin brother William both served during the Vietnam War.
William also believes it was highly unusual for twins to serve together.

“It was nice to see Kevin a couple times when we were at Camp Eagle, but he went out to the bush, and I remained at Camp Eagle as [what Kevin calls him] a REMF! Had he not been medevacked out [due to severe asthma], I am sure I would have seen him more often.

“After I left Vietnam and Kevin was stationed at Fort Knox, I visited him there and when I was at Fort Hood later, Kevin came down there. The bond between identical twins is very strong and still is to this day.”

The twin brothers are both Life members of VFW Post 406 in Newport, Rhode Island, where William serves as quartermaster.

William said the Post focuses on serving its community and local veterans, such as placing U.S. flags on veterans’ graves, working with Wreaths Across America and installing a flagpole for a World War II veteran.

“It feels good to be helping veterans, something that did not happen to us after Vietnam,” William said. “I am proud to be a Life member of the best veterans organization in the country.”

Kevin said through his membership in VFW, which he and his brother joined in 1972, he connected with fellow vets.

“It gave me more pride in my military service and service to others, which I believe is the mission of the VFW,” Kevin said.

Kevin added that he and his brother were inspired to enlist after hearing President John F. Kennedy say, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Kevin said they took him up on the offer.

“Bill and I were very patriotic from a young age,” Kevin said. “When we turned 17, we enlisted. We are extremely proud to have served together."

This article is featured in the 2022 June/July issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Janie Dyhouse, senior editor for VFW magazine.