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Patriotic Article
Troops and Veterans
By USAF SSgt. Shaun Emery

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Looking Out For Big Brother
(September 8, 2009)

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deployed together at an air base in Southwest Asia. As an aircraft maintenance officer, it is Lieutenant Lucero's job to ensure his brother's aircaft are fit to fly. The brothers hail from Albuquerque, NM.
Capt. Bryan Lucero (left) and his younger brother 2nd Lt. Nathan Lucero are deployed together at an air base in Southwest Asia. As an aircraft maintenance officer, it is Lieutenant Lucero's job to ensure his brother's aircaft are fit to fly. The brothers hail from Albuquerque, NM.
  SOUTHWEST ASIA (9/1/2009 - AFNS)

An aircraft maintainer's job is to ensure the safety of his aircraft and its crew, but for one maintenance officer here, the stakes are raised when his older brother is at the controls of an airplane.

Growing up, Capt. Bryan Lucero always looked out for his younger brother, 2nd Lt. Nathan Lucero. But since being reunited at an air base in Southwest Asia, the tables have turned and it's now the younger Lucero's job to take care of his big brother as the lieutenant is the 5th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer in charge and Captain Lucero is an 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot.

Lieutenant Lucero was always following his brother growing up in Albuquerque, N.M. When soccer became his brother's sport of choice, Lieutenant Lucero followed suit. He would tag along to parties and even share the same friends. When Captain Lucero dropped out of college and joined the military, it seemed as if that's where their paths might split.

Captain Lucero would spend four years as an enlisted Airman in signals intelligence, before accepting an ROTC scholarship that would ultimately alter both his and his little brother's life.

"My brother was the No. 1 reason I joined the Air Force," Lieutenant Lucero said. "I saw what his life was like, so I thought I'd give it a shot."

Even after earning his own ROTC scholarship, Lieutenant Lucero never imagined he would be working with his brother.

"I wanted to be a cop," he said. "I wanted to go into (the Office of Special Investigations). I never wanted to work with aircraft."

But that plan didn't work out for Lieutenant Lucero. And when a job in aircraft maintenance fell into his lap, he hopped on board and hasn't looked back since.

That was six years ago, and now the two brothers are finding that being deployed with a sibling, in a closely related career field, adds an interesting dynamic to deployed life.

"When I know he's flying, it's constantly on my mind," Lieutenant Lucero said. "It's my job to make sure that aircraft is safe. Every time a plane takes off, I have to be able to say I would trust putting my family on it, and here I literally have to mean it."

Lieutenant Lucero knows his brothers job, delivering personnel, supplies and equipment to the AOR is dangerous, so when he is able, he drives out to meet his brother and welcome him home.

"It's pretty great to come back from a mission and have the first person I see be my little brother," Captain Lucero said. "It has actually made my last two weeks here a little tougher. On one hand I can't wait to see my family back home, but on the other hand I've enjoyed the last two weeks, spending time with Nathan."

More than just seeing his little brother on a regular basis, Captain Lucero said he still enjoys taking care of his younger brother and helping him a grow as an officer.

"He has so much responsibility here," Captain Lucero said. "There have been some occasions when I was able to offer guidance to help him out. We've been able to talk a lot about our job. We have a better understanding of each other's job now. It has brought us closer and made us better at what we do."

Article and photo by USAF SSgt. Shaun Emery
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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