After graduating from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with their doctorate in optometry, twin brothers Dr. Mike and Dr. Matt Squires faced a dilemma that haunts the dreams of many recent graduates: what they were going to do next.


They knew a private practice was not for them, but they also wanted more direct patient contact than they would have in most hospitals. Finding this perfect middle ground would seem elusive for most people but the resourcefulness of the pair lead them to the U.S. Navy’s optometry program.


“This was a new thing because we don’t have any family history with the military whatsoever,” said Mike. “All we had was a classmate who graduated a few years before us who went to join the Navy and told us about it and it felt like the perfect fit.”


The brothers started nearly a year ago in November 2015, reaching out to officer recruiters within Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Dallas. While they had plenty of support both from their family and recruiters, the road to commissioning was a bumpy one.


“They have a strong desire to serve and Navy was their first choice,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Stewart, division officer of NRD Dallas - Division One. “The problem was that the Navy had one billet and three applicants with the Squires twins being two of the three.”


Since the positions were not currently available, the Navy selected the twins as alternates leaving them with even more questions about their future. While the brothers begin leaning towards joining Army optometry during their time in limbo, Lt. Cmdr. Roxanne Rau, program manager for the medical service corps at Navy Recruiting Command (NRC), pushed to find a solution.


“She really went to bat to for these young men to find two more billets to bring both of them on,” said Stewart. “They already completed the board qualifications on our side so when we got the news, we told them immediately.”


The night they received word of their acceptance into Navy optometry, a massive weight lifted off the twins as they finally had solid plans for their future.


“We were in shock for the first bit of the conversation,” said Matt.


“Because we had given up on the Navy at that point but then learned in June that we got in,” finished Mike. “It was quite a relief.”


As the months passed and their shipping date to officer candidate school (OCS) drew nearer, the excitement the brothers felt that night refused to fade. Eventually their parents picked up the same excitement and hope for the Squires twins’ future.


“At first, they were a little more surprised than anything else since no one else in our family has done anything in the military,” said Matt. “Once the initial shock wore off, I think they were very excited for us to be a part of something bigger. Maybe a little disappointed about not getting free eye exams anymore.”


Their careers are just beginning, but, as both brothers see it, this is just the beginning of the rest of their lives.


“We’re in it for the long haul, we say that now, but both of us have that goal,” said Matt. “We’re excited to have a steady stream of patients and focus on providing eye care to active duty patients.”

 

The twins left for OCS on July 30 and from there they will report to their ultimate duty stations with Matt going to Sewell’s Point Branch Health Clinic in Norfolk, Va., and Mike to Cherry Point, N. C.



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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)