"We were very, very, fortunate to have a mother who was a scientist, who bought us chemistry sets instead of Legos growing up," said Vince Moss.
Vince and Vance Moss, identical twins, are former altar boys, Eagle Scouts, civil air patrol cadets, U.S. Army reservists, and perhaps because of the chemistry sets, doctors. And, yes, their mother is very proud.
In 2005, while tending to injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, both Vince and Vance Moss heard stories about the civilian need for medical care in both countries.
"We decided to pitch a mission to the State Department and the Department of Defense about us going out there and taking care of that severe need," said Vince.
"We are a land of rules, regulations and policies," added Vance. "What my brother and I had planned and pitched was against all of those. So it was very easy to say no and, in fact, it was very easy to say this mission that you are planning is a suicide mission."
So it's no surprise that the Moss brothers wouldn't take no for an answer. They hired their own intelligence and security, bought their own medical supplies, chartered their own plane and left for Afghanistan.
"We'd walk the streets or the hallways of hospitals, and they'd be chanting this 'Doganagy, Doganagy!" and come to find out later that to them it meant 'same-faced healer,'" said Vance.
The "same-faced healers" traveled all over the country, even to places no Americans had ever been.
"I believe that we were able to infiltrate a lot of the corners of Afghanistan because of what we did in the beginning, and that was gain their trust," Vince said. "They saw immediately that we were there to heal, to treat."
They operated in caves and mud shacks. The hospitals were only marginally better.
"Lack of anesthesia, lack of running water, no electricity, there would be times when we would be actually operating on a patient and the electricity goes out," said Vince.
"In Afghanistan there is no such thing as malpractice insurance," Vance Moss said. "So we're looking around the room at men with AK-47S and weapons watching us operate on somebody of significance and we know that if this patient doesn't wake up, they're not going to sue us, they're going to kill us."
Despite all that, the brothers returned to Afghanistan last summer. But this time they were determined to treat women and children first. In the patriarchal Afghan society they are the last to receive care.
"When you look at out pictures, and you look at the eyes of the little kids, a lot of them that we treated I think you will come to the same conclusion that we have -- it certainly was worth it," said Vance.
And so we choose Vince and Vance Moss. No rest for the weary. The Mosses have just left for Iraq as Army doctors. They agreed to the mission on one condition: They could treat Iraqi civilians in their spare time.