Three brothers, Ethan, Jubal and Nathaniel Johnson received orders to train at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, at the same time; two assigned to the 361st Training Squadron and the other to the 366th Training Squadron.
August 3, 2016 - Three brothers, Ethan (left), Jubal (middle) and Nathaniel Johnson (right) received orders to train at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, at the same time; two assigned to the 361st Training Squadron and the other to the 366th Training Squadron. Ethan trained for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Jubal for fuels and Nathaniel for egress systems. They all had the opportunity to stick together while at Sheppard and encourage each other to do their best. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle E. Gese)
“We were really close growing up,” Jubal said. “We may have picked on each other from time to time, but it was never okay for someone else to push one of us around. We would always band together and protect each other when one of us was in need.”
Ethan was the first to join the military, entering Army basic training in 2010. After five years as an Army medic, he became anxious for more adventure and strived for something new. In 2015, he decided to transition to the Air Force to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician. It was then that his two younger brothers pondered the idea of following in his footsteps.
Jubal and Nathaniel were working in the oil field with little knowledge or expectation they would be joining and forming their own band of brothers in the very near future.
“We were sick of working in the oil field,” Jubal said. “I worked there for almost four years and I was talking to Nathaniel one day and said ‘I'm really sick and tired of doing this, I'm missing out on a lot of family time.' Getting laid off of work was really the tipping point for me that pushed me to join the Air Force.”
Both Jubal and Nathaniel turned to the Air Force for the opportunity of a more secure job without fear of being laid off. It also gave Jubal an opportunity to spend more time with his family.
Jubal and Nathaniel received orders to train at Sheppard just weeks after Ethan received orders for his preliminary EOD training. Ethan training with EOD, Jubal training with fuels and Nathaniel training with egress, all had the opportunity to stick together while at Sheppard and encourage each other to do their best.
“Having my brothers here with me helped me ease into this training environment,” Jubal said. “I didn't feel like going to eat by myself, and when I didn't have anybody to eat with, it was nice having Nathaniel around.”
Having his two brothers here also helped introduce him to new people and become a part of the larger Air Force family.
“I love it,” he said. “Standing there and saluting while the anthem plays and seeing all the other Airmen doing the exact same thing, is really an amazing feeling. I know that no matter where I go, I'll always be able to find a brother or sister in arms.”
When their parents Debbie and Greg heard of their news, they were thrilled and glad they could be together during their time in training.
“I'm glad my boys had the opportunity to be at the same base,” Debbie said. “They're all going to go out in different directions now. It was nice knowing that they could be there for each other, encourage one another and spend some time together before they had to go their separate ways.”
Debbie and their family supported Ethan, Jubal and Nathaniel throughout the entire process of sending them to basic, Sheppard, and now their first assignment. She said they call often and even made the trip across country on multiple occasions to attend their graduation ceremonies.
“I'm pretty excited about graduating,” Jubal said. “I'm ready to get back home and see the kids again. My brothers and I aren't much on goodbyes, so when we separated, we pretty much just said ‘it's been fun, until next time,' kind of thing. We're all excited to move on to our bases and make a career out of it."
By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kyle E. Gese
Air Force News Service
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