Like most twins, Lt. Col. Sean McPherson ’91 and Maj. Michael McPherson ’91 have much in common. From their time at Texas A&M University to their careers in the Marine Corps, they share important life experiences, but their ties go further than most thanks to a prestigious mutual connection: the president of the United States.
Both brothers spent four years in Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), where they played key roles transporting then President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. In these positions, the McPhersons traveled around the world and had an up-close seat for important political events as they drew on their Aggie foundation to serve their commander and country.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, the McPhersons moved frequently due to their father’s Marine Corps career. In high school, they relocated to College Station when their father returned to his alma mater to become Professor of Naval Science for Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets. As they experienced the university through football games and other events, the brothers decided to become Aggies.
Both made lasting memories at Texas A&M, especially through the Corps. Sean was a member of Company K-2 while Michael served as guidon bearer in Company M-2. They fondly recall events like receiving their Corps brass, working on Bonfire, and participating in the March to the Brazos and Final Review. “My time at Texas A&M was full of traditions and great times with friends,” Michael said. “There really is a spirit at Texas A&M that you only understand once you become an Aggie.”
After graduating, the brothers followed their father’s example and were commissioned in the Marine Corps. “We were raised in the belief system of giving back to the country, so I always knew I would be a Marine,” Michael said. Their time in the Corps was also an important factor in their decision. “The Corps is a good primer to get yourself ready to go into the military,” Sean explained. “You gain the discipline you need and acquire leadership experience as you advance through the Corps’ ranks.”
Sean first attended flight school and became a troop transport pilot, deploying twice in Asia and the Middle East. He then became a battalion air officer with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines before joining HMX-1 in 2000. Michael’s career began as an infantry officer with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. After advancing to company executive officer, he attended flight school and became an attack helicopter pilot, deploying overseas. In 2002, after Michael heard Sean discuss his experiences with HMX-1, the squadron gained the second half of the McPherson duo.