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Twin reasons for pride in Iraq

Foothills brothers serving in the front line at Fallujah
By: Ryan Sabalow, Journal Staff Writer
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ROCKLIN - A pair of rain-soaked Marine Corps flags and a matching set of yellow ribbons hang from the garage in front of Nancy and Victor Oseto's Rocklin home this Veterans Day. Two is an important number for the Osetos. The flags represent each of their twin boys, Eric and Victor, both recently enlisted Marines fighting to take the embattled city of Fallujah, Iraq. Inside the home, the TV's on, and the 24-hour news network, MSNBC, shows scenes of soldiers fighting to take the city, in which 18 U.S. troops and five Iraqi soldiers have been killed in a five-day assault. In a house filled with pictures hanging from the walls of two young men currently in Iraq, the images on the TV screen suddenly take on a deeper meaning. Oseto has mixed feelings about watching news, she said. "Sometimes I don't want to see it. But it's important for me to know," Oseto said. "It's not just my boys I'm worried about. It's all of them." Oseto's boys, both Del Oro High School graduates, joined the Marines in 2003, right after graduating. Victor shipped out to Iraq in July. Eric shipped out in September. Needless to say, it's been a tough couple of months for their mom. "It's kind of scary. I keep busy. I try to keep up with everyday life," Oseto said. "I work a lot to keep my mind busy." She said she talks to her boys over the phone and by e-mail. She also sends them care packages filled with practical items like batteries. But she always puts in a touch from home, like their favorite cereal, or something special from the rest of the family. "They both want grandma's special teriyaki beef jerky," she said. She also sends them area newspapers so the twins can keep track of local sports news. Eric played football and wrestled in high school, and Victor ran cross-country at Del Oro. Oseto said both her boys always want to know how the Golden Eagles are faring this year. Oseto said the hardest part for the family is knowing that they won't be able to celebrate the twins' 21st birthday in December. "The party for them will be huge. We'll miss their 21st and New Year's," she said. "Until then, it will be pretty quiet until they get back." Eric's girlfriend of two years, 18-year-old Kelsey Martin, a student at El Camino College, moved to Torrence, Calif. to be next to her boyfriend. Knowing that she won't see him until he's eligible for leave this spring is rough on her, she said. "I'm nervous," Martin said. "I haven't heard from him for a week and a half. Sometimes he calls me every day. Sometimes I don't get a call for two weeks. It depends." Martin said Eric, who serves as a cook in the Marines, hadn't seen his infantryman brother, Victor, since Christmas, but they did run into each other recently. She said Eric tried to brush off the encounter like it was no big deal. "He puts up a front, saying that he doesn't care about his brother," she said. "But you can tell that he really missed him." Martin said she tries to avoid watching the news entirely because she's so nervous, but she has a lot of pride in what Eric's doing for his country. Pride is definitely something Oseto has for her boys. "I'm damn proud," Oseto said. "I'm hella proud." But as the heavy rains of Veterans Day dripped forlornly outside her home, pride in her sons took a backseat to their safety. "We're praying for them," she said. "We're just hoping they come home." The Journal's Ryan Sabalow can be reached at ryans@goldcountrymedia.com.