EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Master Sgt. Antone Scott always wanted his identical twin brother to be a part of one of his reenlistment ceremonies; but for 10 years, timing and location kept them apart. On June 27, when Scott raised his hand to receive the oath for his fifth enlistment, his brother was there to administer it.
"It's a great honor knowing he could have selected any officer for his reenlistment, but he was willing to make the extra effort and coordinate to reenlist this way," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Scott, NAS Norfolk, Va. "I'm very thankful and blessed to share this moment with my brother and our family."
Antone was all smiles during the ceremony. After years of separation, delays and other obstacles, he finally recited the oath to his brother.
"The timing was finally perfect for him to administer the oath to me for both the first and most likely the last time, because this will take me to 24 years of service," said Antone, a member of the 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Antone and his brother, Anthony, grew up in Greenville, Ala., as the "only-children" of their mother.
They spent their first 20 years confusing friends, relatives and teachers, who tried to figure out which one was Anthony and which one was Antone. They were always in different classes in school, although they did swap places occasionally without anyone discovering.
"It was easy because I knew how to act like Antone and he knew how to act like me," Anthony said laughing. "When we look back at old photos of ourselves, it's sometimes difficult to tell who is who."
Antone remembers those days of having a doppelganger fondly.
"Always having someone by your side growing up and sharing everything was fun," said the master sergeant, who leads 18 members of Eglin's deployment facility. "It's one of the best experiences of my life."
In 1992, the brothers signed up for the Navy together in the delayed entry program, but Antone "jumped ship" before entering and instead stepped into the blue two months later in January 1993. "He was smarter," joked Anthony.
Throughout their linked life, Antone has always followed Anthony, his big brother by three minutes, especially when it came to education. Anthony completed his associate's and bachelor's degrees followed a year later by Antone. Currently, Antone is only a few steps behind Anthony, who has already completed his master's.
"Anthony was always the overachiever," joked Antone.
After becoming an airman and a sailor, the brothers only saw each other sporadically as their careers moved them across the world. They came back together in 2000 while Antone was stationed at Langley AFB, Va., and Anthony attended Reserve Officer Training Corps at Norfolk State University.
"Just knowing your twin brother is only a few miles away is a great feeling," said Anthony, who was a petty officer 2nd class before receiving his commission through the enlisted commissioning program. "We could get together with each other's families more often."
Antone said he and his brother would meet each week for lunch and talk about their lives and their services.
After Anthony completed the school and earned his commission, Antone was on hand to be part of a time-honored military officer tradition - the first salute.
"I was a bit nervous, but it was so good to have my twin brother give the first salute upon my commissioning, and I passed him the traditional silver dollar," said Anthony. "Navy tradition states you have to buy your first salute and then earn every salute thereafter through your performance by gaining the respect of your subordinates."
Although he's a little older and higher ranking in the military, Anthony said his brother has always been his mentor.
"Throughout our 20 years of service, we've discussed leadership, guidance and mentorship of leading airmen and sailors in every situation," said Anthony, the commander of Amphibious Squadron 6 at Virginia Beach, Va. "My brother has always given me the confidence and strength to grow, develop and advance as an enlisted Sailor and officer."
Both brothers, who plan to retire from the military, have carried their love for the services to their families. Each brother has three sons of his own. Their two oldest have chosen careers as Soldiers in the Army.
"The Air Force and Navy has done great things for me and my brother with traveling the planet, advanced education and supporting our families," said Anthony. "Being able to reenlist him shows me he will continue to reap the benefits of being an Airman while making the Air Force a better institution, because of his service and leadership. It is always a privilege to administer the oath, but it is extra special when it is your brother. "