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Patriotic Article
Military

By USAF TSgt. Thomas Dow

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Brothers In Arms
(August 29, 2010)

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MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (8/25/2010 - AFNS) -- Two lieutenants from the 742nd Missile Squadron here contributed to a once-in-a-lifetime event by pulling their first and last alert together Aug. 19.
What made this alert so unique is the fact that the two officers are brothers, and the scheduling factors aligned to allow a joint alert.

An alert consists of combat crewmembers traveling out to the field and establishing command and control of their squadron's block of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. While on alert, they are responsible for day-to-day operations, maintenance and security of the missiles within their control and are prepared to launch their missiles at all times. There are two crewmembers at the console to ensure 24-hour vigilance of the ICBMs.

Having two family members pulling an alert at the same time is rare enough. For brothers 1st Lt. Erik Tims and 2nd Lt. Patrick Tims, both 742nd MS Missile combat crew commanders, the path taken to arrive at their momentous alert was long
 1st Lt. Erik Tims and 2nd Lt. Patrick Tims pose for a photo outside of the 91st Missile Wing headquarters building Aug. 18. The two lieutenants, who happen to be brothers, took part in a once-in-a-lifetime event at Minot AFB here by pulling their first and last alert together Aug. 19, 2010 at Minot AFB. N.D. Erik and Patrick are both with the 742nd Missile Squadron here.
1st Lt. Erik Tims and 2nd Lt. Patrick Tims pose for a photo outside of the 91st Missile Wing headquarters building Aug. 18. The two lieutenants, who happen to be brothers, took part in a once-in-a-lifetime event at Minot AFB here by pulling their first and last alert together Aug. 19, 2010 at Minot AFB. N.D. Erik and Patrick are both with the 742nd Missile Squadron here.
and somewhat amazing, to say the least.
"The timing factors and simple luck that came into play for such a thing to happen is staggering," said Lieutenant Erik Tims. "His (Patrick) commissioning from the same school, getting the same Air Force specialty code, the same base, the same squadron, and then somehow timed to come online as I go offline is incredible."

This alert will be the last for Erik. He has been at Minot AFB for 2 1/2 years, but was recently selected for cross-training. In September, he starts training to become a combat systems officer, also known as a navigator.

"It has always been a dream of mine to be part of a flying mission and this will serve to fulfill that long journey," Erik said.

While the alert marks the end of Erik's path here, it is the beginning for his brother, Lieutenant Patrick Tims. He has been at Minot AFB for three months, and feels the insight gained from his brother is invaluable.

"Any time I had a question about the Air Force, or more specifically now the career field, he was always there to help and offer advice," Patrick said. "My transition from Vandenberg AFB to Minot AFB has been the easiest move of my life because my brother helped me to get situated and comfortable while helping me to learn the ropes."

For the Tims brothers, choosing the military as a career path was a chance to continue a proud family tradition. According to Patrick, having an uncle in the Navy, a grandfather in the Army, another grandfather who flew F-86s for the Air Force during the Korean War, and a father who spent 20 years in the Air Force, joining the Air Force was a no-brainer.

"My desires to continue the tradition as well as give back to the country which has given me so much are the main reasons I joined up," Patrick said.

Erik also mirrored his brother's sentiments for serving his country.

"I joined the Air Force in part due to tradition," Erik said. "As well as a desire to make a difference in our nation's defense."

So, on Aug. 19, two Air Force officers and brothers took to the field to do what they do best. As graduates from the same school, of the same career field, at the same base, in the same squadron, they were able to be part of something amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for one brother to pass the torch to another, and continue a tradition of safe, secure and effective operations.

By USAF TSgt. Thomas Dow
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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