Band of brothers dedicating lives to serving country

By Philippe Djegal - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Three brothers, born and raised in Tyler, and all of them are getting their college education in the military at West Point.

The trio came home for Father's Day weekend for one last time before they all go their separate ways.

The Harris brothers come from a family of nine. But, these three share a unique bond - the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"Keep a good sense of humor, and don't worry too much," said 23 year old 2nd Lt. Charles Harris. "It will all work out."

Charles is the oldest. He graduated from West Point in 2008. He now serves in the U.S. Army at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

"Post September 11th, there was a big push in the country for military service.... The combined past experiences, that event, and then the opportunities for service that the academy offered, were really the driving forces behind that decision," said 2nd Lt. Harris.

His brothers are following his lead. 22 year old Brad Harris is a senior at West Point. He will Graduate next spring.

"They say cooperate and graduate at West Point," said Cadet Brad Harris. "We're all there for the same reason, and you learn to work together - with each other."

And, Justin, the youngest, just graduated from high school and is preparing for basic training before starting his first year at West Point in August.

"I'm really excited," said new Cadet Harris. "I'm ready to go. . . I've always felt that, I've been really blessed in this country, and so, joining West Point and the army is one of the many way I felt that I could return the favor."

Brad says he wants to be an army physician.

"When a soldier is gone for a year, that means his kids don't have a dad for a year, and the mom has to be a single parent," said Cadet Harris. "I mean, it's really rough on them. And, so, I'd be serving a bunch of great American citizens."

And, all three say it's no accident that they are together on Father's Day weekend.

"He's everything. He holds the family together," said 2nd Lt. Harris.

"We all reflect him," said Cadet Harris. "It's the same [for] my mother too. It's a partnership. Both of them are just as influential in raising us."

Raising them to serve.

Charles, the oldest of the three, says his brigade is training for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. That will be his first mission for the army overseas.

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