BROTHERS IN ARMS: THE TRAGEDY IN SMALL-TOWN AMERICA wsj ^ | 23 Sept 2017 | Michael M. Phillips

wsj ^ | 23 Sept 2017 | Michael M. Phillips

Posted on 9/23/2017, 3:07:03 PM by DUMBGRUNT

Mike Goski stared into the steel casket at his twin brother’s body, dressed for eternity in a deep-blue Marine Corps jacket with red piping and brass buttons. It was like looking into a cruel mirror, Chris’s face, so like his own, distorted by a wound the mortician couldn’t conceal. Alone together for the last time, Mike slipped a knife into his brother’s hand, a weapon for Valhalla, the mythical refuge for fallen warriors. …“Chris had only one fear that I’m aware of, and it was not death,” Mike said as he stood beside the coffin that held his twin. “He feared providing anything less than absolutely perfect close air support for his brothers. He feared failing them when they needed him the most.” ors.” . …On June 8, Chris reclined on the guest bed at his friend’s house. On his laptop, he entered a search for post-traumatic stress disorder…. Then Chris raised the .45-caliber pistol his brother had given him, put it to his right ear and pulled the trigger. He was 31 years old. …The next day, Mike drove back to his apartment in Clarksville, Tenn. He stripped to his undershorts and T-shirt and settled onto a camouflaged poncho liner on the bare mattress. He put a Glock pistol next to his pillow.

Then Mike put the nozzle of a Dust-Off can in his mouth. Police found his body five days later….

On July 18, 2016, the Goskis buried Mike’s casket atop of Chris’s, one brother’s name chiseled into the front of the grave marker, the other’s name chiseled into the back.

“That’s how they came into the world,” Tim said. “And that’s how they left.”

(Excerpt)

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