Twins Unite For Their First Deployment
by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Clinton Atkins
July 5, 2019
Twin brothers assigned to the 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, Fuels Distribution Flight, have taken the term identical to rare heights in the Air Force.
February 23, 2019 - Senior Airmen Jeffrey and Joshua Young, 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operators stand in front of an R-11 fuel truck at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. Day and night, there is a Young brother fueling the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Clinton Atkins)
Senior Airmen Jeffrey and Joshua Young spent their adolescent years as Navy dependents, following their dad from the United States to Europe and back again. They lived in places such as Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia and Sicily, Italy.
When their dad retired from the Navy, the Young family settled in Brooklyn, Conn., to be close to their mom’s side of the family.
There, they turned a love for music into action, starting a band with a few high school friends. The band dissolved after their first self-produced album. At 21 years old, they realized something needed to change. Their dad encouraged them to go into the Air Force.
“We were doing the same old stuff with the same old friends,” said Jeffrey. “Our dad did 20 years in the Navy, so I’ve always known that I wanted to put a little time into the service just to do my part.”
After the twins took the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery test, Jeffrey and Joshua qualified for a long list of jobs, but their demands were simple. “I want to work with the planes and I want to leave as soon as possible,” Jeffrey recalled saying to the Military Entrance Processing Station personnel, who marked them down as “open mechanic.” For those who don’t know, “open mechanic” means accepting the first mechanic-classified job that becomes available.
The MEPS personnel told them they actually had two “open mechanic” slots, to which they both gladly accepted. The twins were shipped out to Basic Military Training on the same day, and then to the same training squadron and even the same flight.
During BMT, they each learned which job their “open mechanic” slot lead them to – 2F0X1, Fuels Distribution Operator. As the story goes, their military training instructor, who came from the same career field, jokingly said, “Oh God, the twins are in Fuels.”
The twins spent a month and a half in technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. When they graduated, their paths diverged. Jeffrey was assigned to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and Joshua went to the 87th Air Base Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The twins crossed paths two years later. Both brothers received orders to deploy.
Joshua reflected on what it was like to live together and apart.
“We got a lot more annoyed when we lived together and then obviously being in the military and station at separate bases, we didn’t get to spend time together. We get to play [video games] together and talk online, but obviously, we don’t see each other every day anymore. And then after finding out we were coming here, it was something to look forward to; it was like ‘[heck] yeah,’” said Joshua.
Joshua was notified in March 2018 about his deployment to Kuwait and then his brother received a deployment notification in June 2018, for what he initially thought would be Qatar, but as fate would have it, turned out to also be Kuwait.
Which brings us to present day.
Jeffrey and Joshua have been here for two months, working 12-hour shifts six days per week. There is always a Young on shift, except on their day off. The only way to know who’s who is to look closely. There is an inch height difference between the two and they wear different glasses.
They even share the same perspective about their first deployment. After coming from bases with heavies – a colloquial Air Force term for large aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker – the twins consider this deployment an easier duty than home station.
“Coming from a heavies base and you go out and fill up two F-16s, that’s 20,000 pounds [of fuel], and you’re like, ‘That’s it? Alright,’” Joshua said.
Jeffrey said to fill up a KC-135 back at home base requires 75,000 to 120,000 pounds, which is much more time consuming. There, he uses an R-12 hydrant truck that hooks up to an underground pipeline that takes fuel from an above ground fuel tank.
Nevertheless, as with any deployment, there are austere conditions including the desert climate, tent living, and the fact that the bathrooms are in separate buildings. However, they agreed it’s more rewarding to go through it with a sibling.
“You go through real hard times, but you went through it with somebody,” said Jeffrey. “After you make it through, you can reminisce. So the benefit of deploying with your twin is that we’re from the same family and we’ll always go back to the same place, so forever, for as long as we live, we’re going to have the shared memories of this deployment.”
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