KANDAHAR Airfield, Afghanistan (11/16/2012 - AFNS) -- Growing up
with a brother or sister can be tough if they're bigger than you and
they bully, tease or steal the last cupcake. You know, the cupcake
with your name on it. Then when challenging your older sibling who
is clearly the wanton culprit, they blame it on the dog and dismiss
November 7, 2012 - Master Sgt. Tracy Bennett, left, and her brother Staff Sgt. Alan Scobel, were reunited while deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Their common bond as Airmen has helped them grow closure as siblings during the course of their careers. Bennett is with the 451st Expeditionary Force Support Flight and Scobel is with the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo
by Master Sgt. Russell Martin
But two Airmen have found as they grow older, their common bond
through Air Force service helps them grow stronger -- and more
likely to share that sacred cupcake.
Master Sgt. Tracy
Bennett, 451st Expeditionary Force Support Flight and Staff Sgt.
Alan Scobel, 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, have
deployed downrange here together for more than two months and they
still tease each other just like they did when they were growing up.
"Our dad served in the Air Force for a few years, but
voluntarily separated before us kids were born," Bennett said. "Life
growing up was great for me, but not so much for my poor little
brother. I was the mean big sister that used to beat him up every
chance I got. Five years older and much bigger, I would even
trip him while he was learning how to walk. It wasn't until I had
joined the military when we actually started to get along."
Being the younger sibling has its challenges, but Scobel
said it was how Bennett changed when she went in the Air
Force that really caught his attention.
senior year, I didn't quite know what I wanted to do with my
life after high school," Scobel said. "After Tracy came home
on leave one week, I saw how much she was enjoying it and I
started considering the Air Force."
At that point,
the two Columbus East High School graduates from Columbus,
Ind., began planning to spend time together at Bennett's
duty station while she was stationed at Eglin Air Force
"She and I talked about it, and she
invited me to Eglin to spend time with her, shadow her and
see how the Air Force was day in and day out," Scobel said.
"It seemed like a pretty nice gig and I was impressed with
how much she was accomplishing and how the Air Force gave
her a more focused sense of direction. That was something I
sorely needed. So, (soon after), I went to the military
entrance processing station and I signed up."
always, his older sister offered words of advice for her
"Before talking to the recruiter,
I told him, 'Sign up for six years; you'll thank me later,'"
said Bennett. "At his basic training graduation, I could not
have been more proud. Since then, we have grown extremely
close and he has even come to me for career advice."
Their common bond as Airmen has helped to grow and mature
their relationship as well.
"Life growing up with
her was tough, not going to lie, she was mean," Scobel said
and laughed. "She was always picking on me. Of course I was
the typical little brother though, all I could do for
revenge was annoy her as much as I could. When I was maybe
six years old she painted my nails pink, knowing we didn't
have any nail polish remover. I had to go to school with
pink nails. Our parents were sure I would grow up not
wanting to have anything to do with her."
the Air Force seemed to mature his sister, said Scobel. The
siblings are now closer than ever before.
to get along, especially after I joined," he said. "If I
have any career-related questions or advice, many times I
will go to her. I'm trying to catch up to her in rank, but
she's kind of a fast burner."
In trying to catch up
to his sister, Scobel realized after being slated for a
deployment to Africa that his functional manager offered
some flexibility in the deployment and he sought to change
the location to be there for Bennett.
"I was slotted
for a nice cushy Africa deployment, but when I found out she
was coming here, I immediately wanted to switch," Scobel
said. "These past 16 years, we've only had a handful of
times to spend together; usually just every other year for
the holidays. I figured she misses her husband and kids back
at home, so why not try to cheer her up?"
was well received and Bennett and Scobel tried to make the
most of the time they have here together, though their
mission has them working opposite shifts.
parents were stoked and couldn't be happier that we would
get to be together here at Kandahar," Bennett said. "For
those fortunate enough to be deployed or stationed with
family, it truly makes you appreciative. Although on
opposite shifts, we try to see each other whenever possible,
and although he's bigger than me now, I can probably still
beat him up."
Cupcake? What cupcake!
By USAF Master Sgt. Russell Martin
Air Force News Service
Comment on this article