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Brothers by blood and service

Master Sgt. Andres Alvarez (left), fuels operation section chief assigned to the 97 Logistics Readiness Squadron, and his brother Staff Sgt. Robert Alvarez, a loadmaster assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron, work in their own respective workplaces at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

Master Sgt. Andres Alvarez (left), fuels operation section chief assigned to the 97 Logistics Readiness Squadron, and his brother Staff Sgt. Robert Alvarez, a loadmaster assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron, work in their own respective workplaces at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The brothers were both recently stationed at Altus AFB and enjoy living near each other for the first time since Andres Alvarez joined the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman Jeremy Wentworth)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla -- It is common in the military for service member to refer to each other as family members, but for two Altus Airmen, they are family by blood and service.

Master Sgt. Andres Alvarez, fuels operation section chief assigned to the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was the first brother to join the Air Force.

“We both didn’t have the best upbringing and we both wanted something more in life. I always knew that I wanted to join the military,” said Andres Alvarez. “I had the drive and

I loved war movies so I went to a U.S. Army recruiter against my mom’s better wishes. Long story short my family convinced me that the Air Force was the way to go.”

A few years later Andres Alvarez went home on leave and gave his brother motivation to walk on the same path.

“I saw he was just working a dead end job,” said Andres Alvarez. “He was wasting his potential. I told him about the good life that waited for him in the Air Force.”

His brother Robert Alvarez, a loadmaster assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron, tells a similar story to how he joined.

“Andres joined right out of high school,” said Robert Alvarez. “I didn’t join until I was about 23. He told me to get my act together and the Air Force had the opportunities I was looking for. He was a big inspiration for me joining the Air Force.”

While some may think that being in the military means being apart for the two brothers, the Air Force has connected them on multiple occasions.

“I ran into Robert on my last deployment to Incrilik Air Base in Turkey. He happened to be flying through so I saw him for a night there,” said Andres Alvarez. “At my last assignment in Mildenhall Air Base, England, he flew through and we got to spend some time together. I was getting stationed here at Altus at the same time he was here for training as well. Robert applied to be an instructor and got stationed here.”

Now that the brothers are stationed together, the family ties are stronger than ever.

“Most folks don’t get to be stationed next to their family, but I get to be stationed with my brother,” said Andres Alvarez. “It’s pretty rare and it’s an awesome thing. We’re going to ride out a few years here and take advantage of it. I can let my kids grow up with their uncle and I can have a brother. We can let the family ties grow again.”

Robert Alvarez is enjoying seeing his brother and having the ability to be an uncle.

“I went on vacation to see my brother in Mildenhall and my niece was still in diapers, then the next time I saw him I had two new nephews also,” chuckled Robert Alvarez. ”It’s been great to really get to know the kids and see them grow up and actually be a part of it.”

While both brothers serve and are a part of the Altus Air Force Base mission, they also get a chance to be a regular part of each other’s lives. This ranges from having a barbeque, working out or even getting on the golf course.

“I bought a pair of golf clubs just so we can play,” said Robert Alvarez. “He wins every time we go out. I’ve got zero golf skills but it gives us a chance to do something together.”

As the two brothers settle into their assignment at Altus AFB, they can look back on their Air Force career and be thankful that by pure chance, they ended up at the same assignment. The Alvarez brothers have made Altus their new home and for the next few years they will be able to serve side by side and grow as Airmen and family.