JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Identical twin sisters with military bloodlines are forging their own path in the service as students at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
Private Jaclynn Barton and Private Joanna Barton are students in the METC Radiology Program who are training to become radiology technicians. The sisters started in the program in March after completing their basic training, which they did together, at Fort Sill, Okla.
The twins joined the Army out of high school, following in the footsteps of their parents and brothers, who are serving or have served in the military.
“All three of our older brothers have been in either the Army or Air Force,” Jaclynn Barton said. “Our parents are both prior Air Force. My father is retired Air Force; my grandfather has been in the Army, Navy and Air Force.”
Their father, who retired as a master sergeant, was stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
While in high school in Chester, Va., Jaclynn and Joanna Barton looked at their career options, which included going to college, before deciding to go into the military.
“I wanted to go two years to a community college and then go to a university,” said Joanna Barton. “But after learning the benefits of being part of the armed forces, I decided to join with her (Jaclynn Barton).”
Jaclynn Barton said one of the benefits of being in the Army is that the training she receives as radiology technician will help with her career goal of becoming a radiologist. Also, she said the educational benefits the military provides will allow her to take college courses to further her education.
“It’s a nice, stable environment where they will teach me basic skills,” Jacylnn Barton said. “Being here and doing this gives me the experience that will hopefully help me later on in life as I go through the rest of my schooling to become a radiologist.”
Joanna Barton, who also is aiming to become a radiologist, said one of the advantages of being in the service is the emphasis on fitness.
“You have to maintain a certain lifestyle,” Joanna Barton said. “I like that I have to stay fit and that I have to maintain my drive. You have to maintain motivation to do anything or go anywhere in the Army.”
Jaclynn Barton said she and her twin sister helped each other get through basic training. Although they spent most of the day while in basic training separated, they were able to spend time together before lights out.
“It’s not the type of environment where you get to choose who you were around,” Jaclynn Barton said. “It was always nice to come back and in our one hour before lights outs, our personal time to talk about how the day went and what we did and what we didn’t do.”
Being twins at a military campus like METC has brought attention to them, the sisters say.
“Everyone knows us,” Joanna Barton said. “When you are identical twins and you are always staying next to each other, you are always noticed. People we’ve haven’t met, sergeants we haven’t met, commanders we haven’t met, know us.”
“We are constantly getting stared at,” Jaclynn Barton said. “Specifically, when we first got here we would walk into the break room, which all of the classes use, we just have people randomly looking at us and just staring at us and then say, ‘Are you twins?’”
The sisters say that training at a JBSA installation and at a multi-service campus such as METC is advantageous for them.
“It being a joint base is really interesting,” Jaclynn Barton said. “I enjoy it personally. Getting to know the other service branches and how they are, how their courtesies work, how their ranks work is an advantage I think we get compared to other Soldiers who go to purely Army bases.”
Plus, Jaclynn Barton said the instructors in the METC Radiology Program are knowledgeable in their field.
“All of the instructors here are radiology technicians themselves so they have hands-on experience in the job and they are really good at teaching how it all works,” she said. “A lot of them have been deployed, a lot of them have spent their whole career in hospitals. You get to see the different point of views from each person on what they believe is the current path to take.”
Joanna Barton said she liked that the METC Radiology Program instructors share their military career experiences with the students.
“A lot of the instructors like to tell their life story as an introduction,” she said. “So we get to know how the Navy has helped them in life compared to how an Army instructor had the Army benefit them in their life.”
The sisters will graduate from the Radiology Program in September. After their graduation, they both will enter the second phase of their training, a residency at a military treatment facility.
Both of them plan to serve at least six years in the Army, with Jaclynn Barton keeping the option of becoming an officer, and then earning doctorates to work as radiologists in the civilian sector.