HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – “Brothers in arms” is a common expression among military members, but rarely do actual siblings directly complement each other's contributions to the mission.
At the 388th Fighter Wing here, Air Force 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush from the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are doing exactly that.
When it comes to the relationship between aircraft maintainers and pilots, Lieutenant Rush said, it’s important to maintain a close, professional relationship with the crew chief, because his life depends on the work done by the maintenance team every day he steps into a jet.
A Playful Rivalry
"We definitely joke about pilot versus maintenance," he added. "It is a playful rivalry, but we both realize that we 100 percent rely on each other."
Sergeant Rush has served in the Air Force for more than 10 years and was assigned to Hill AFB in January 2010. As a child, he said, he developed an interest in working with his hands, so when he was asked to build his list of job preferences, he filled all five slots with positions that fell into the mechanical career field.
"The opportunity just kind of fell into my lap," he said. "My grandpa was also in the Air Force, so it has always been in our blood."
Lieutenant Rush also followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, who also was a fighter pilot. While studying at Westminister College in Salt Lake City, he simultaneously worked toward a commission through the ROTC program at the University of Utah through a crosstown agreement.
First Salute Upon Commissioning
"With Brandon going to the Air Force, a lot of things came together that definitely made me want to fly," he said. "My brother actually gave me my first salute when I commissioned three years ago, so that was pretty cool."
After completing their training, Air Force pilots get a list of available bases to choose from, based on their respective aircraft training.
"There was one slot to Hill, and everyone knew I wanted it," Lieutenant Rush said. "I really like Salt Lake City, and my wife wanted to go to school at the University of Utah, which she is doing now. With Brandon being here, it was definitely an added bonus."
A Rewarding Tour of Duty
Sergeant Rush's tour at Hill AFB is coming to a close, as he recently received orders to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. But the brothers agree their time spent here together has been rewarding.
"My brother went out to help me launch my first flight here at Hill," the lieutenant said. "I am proud of him and what he has done. Having him be there made it more special for me than your average sortie. For him to launch me and give the salute -- that was pretty special."