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Brothers' bond holds strong through service

Air Force security forces twins portrait.

Airman 1st Class Sebastian Ruiz (left) and Airman 1st Class Andre Ruiz (right), 377th Security Force Squadron installation access controllers, are twin brothers serving together at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 25, 2021. The brothers say they never thought they would get to be stationed together, but they’re happy they have the opportunity and thankful to have one another’s support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jenna Bigham)

Air Force gate guard checks driver's ID card.

Airman 1st Class Sebastian Ruiz, 377th Security Forces Squadron installation access controller, verifies a driver’s ID card for authorized entry at one of the gates at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 25, 2021. Sebastian and his twin brother, Airman 1st Class Andre Ruiz, serve together in the same career field at the same base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jenna Bigham)

Air Force security forces twins portrait.

Airman 1st Class Andre Ruiz, 377th Security Forces Squadron installation access controller, prepares to respond to a call from dispatch at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 25, 2021. Andre and his twin brother, Airman 1st Class Sebastian Ruiz, serve together in the same career field at the same base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jenna Bigham)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

From birth to basic, tech school to Kirtland, the Ruiz brothers have faced it all together. They’ve conquered whatever came their way with the support of one another and never lived too far apart, until now.

Airman 1st Class Sebastian Ruiz, 377th Security Forces Squadron installation access controller, said, “When we first got here, our sponsor said, ‘I didn’t know if you really liked each other, so I separated you. One of you is on the third floor and the other is on the other end on the first floor.” Sebastian Ruiz continued with a laugh, “We were roommates in tech school, so this is the furthest we’ve ever lived from each other.”

As any good infomercial would say, “…that’s not all” that makes their story extra special.

“Initially, we were both working days, but opposite schedules,” said Airman 1st Class Andre Ruiz, 377th Security Forces Squadron installation access controller, “so people from our flight saw us at the gates and thought we were working every day.”

Their co-workers weren’t seeing the same person every day. The Ruiz brothers are not only siblings, they’re identical twins. Twins at the same base, in the same career field and in the same squadron.

“When we were at tech school, Andre checked his assignment first and it said Kirtland,” said Sebastian Ruiz. “I was a little bummed because it set in that we would be separated, so I was thinking ‘ok, how far am I going to be from Kirtland.’ Then I looked at mine and I asked him again where he was going, and we both said Kirtland.”

The relief was felt by others, too.

“Our mom was really happy, because she encouraged us to join the Air Force,” said Sebastian Ruiz. “She wanted more for us and knew the opportunities and benefits we would have through service, and she was really happy when she found out she could see both of us with one plane ticket.”

The brothers joined the Air Force with a goal in mind of bettering themselves. Being able to support one another from much closer than expected is a bonus.

“This sets us up for our future,” said Sebastian Ruiz. “We both want to go into law enforcement after our contracts and this is a good start.”

And they have a pick-me-up when times get tough.

“If I’m in a bad mood, he’s always there to make jokes and cheer me up,” said Sebastian Ruiz. “We’re best friends.”

Serving away from family is often what makes military life so challenging, and the Ruiz brothers know they’re fortunate to be where they are and to make the most of it while they can.

“We know that sometimes you get lucky and get to serve with family,” said Sebastian Ruiz, “and we just remind each other that if we have to deploy or serve at separate bases, that there’s nothing to worry about.”

They’ve also learned that no matter where they are, the support doesn’t stop with each other. Their Air Force family is there, too.

“They always have your back,” said Andre Ruiz. “If we have training days for too long, they try to find ways to make it up to us so we can get our rest in.”

After getting an inside look at what it’s like to serve alongside family, learning about the family motivation they have back home, the support they have from one another and their new Air Force family, there was still one question left to ask: “Have you ever pulled the old switcheroo and subbed for the other in school, work or at home?”

Without batting an eye, they both responded with, “No.”