Rivals find common cause
by Chris Wilson
In the past when they were on different teams, they played against
each other. Now, they're still on different teams, but they're
fighting for the same cause - to be officers and fight for freedom
and military honor.
Back when Tucker Bennett and Brandon Titus were little kids,
they played together on the same basketball team in Ojai. Later,
they became friends in junior high at Matilija. And then the
friendly rivalry began when they battled it out on the football
Titus, a year ahead of Bennett in school, attended Nordhoff High
School, where he played quarter back for the Rangers. Bennett
went to St. Bonaventure in Ventura and played offensive tackle
for the Seraphs.
"It's a great rivalry between the two schools," Bennett
The rivalry and friendship, stands to this day.
Titus says, "Go Army, beat Navy," and Bennett switches
Titus is a junior at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point,
N.Y. and Bennett is a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy in
"I passed all my classes, that's a good thing," Titus
said. Once he graduates, he'll be a second lieutenant in the
Now Titus is studying to be a system's engineer, but his technical
knowledge can't always save him from the friendly pranks that
Bennett likes to pull.
Since they mostly stay in touch through e-mail and instant messaging,
they do what they can to have fun, long-distance style. Once,
Bennett sent a message attachment to Titus that shut his computer
down, while he was in the middle of an English paper.
"He was so pissed," Bennett said.
"Yeah, I was a little mad," Titus said. "Luckily
I had my work all saved. I need to get him back, but he's always
expecting it, so I'll have to find another way."
Titus is remaining tight-lipped about his retaliation plans.
He's more concerned with getting good grades and getting ready
to choose what branch of the Army he'll choose to serve in. At
this point he's waffling between infantry and military intelligence.
He'd been considering armor until he went to a summer-long officer's
basic training course in Beudingen, Germany. After 11 weeks,
he knew that wasn't for him.
"I just don't see myself in a tank," he said.
Bennett is also in the same boat, confused about what branch
of the Navy he'll choose after he graduates. He's not quite up
to the marathon of being a member of an elite Sea, Air and Land
"Someone's not going to choose SEAL, when they're an aqua
rock," he said.
And as far as going into combat is concerned, they both agree.
If called on, they will follow orders and get their jobs done.
"I knew what I was getting into when I signed up,"
Titus said. "If it comes down to it, we're all prepared
to do what we have to do."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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Bennett, left, and Brandon Titus during halftime at the 2000