Brothers in arms

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephen Musal
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
Military members refer to each other as brothers in arms, but it's literally true for two Goodfellow Airmen.

Tech. Sgt. Keith Wallace, a master instructor with the 315th Training Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Alan Morford, 17th Communications Squadron, grew up in a small town in Kentucky, and moved to Bloomington, Ill., when Sergeant Wallace was 14 and Airman Morford 11. Four years later, the elder brother joined the Air Force.

"I'd wanted to be a pilot since forever," Sergeant Wallace said, adding that when his vision wasn't quite good enough, he chose to enlist instead. The instructor served his first term as an operations management Airman before cross-training into intelligence.

When he finished with college, Airman Morford said he wanted to do something more than just work for a living while he earned some job experience. Though he and his brother had initially clashed about Sergeant Wallace's Air Force enlistment, the Air Force is where the younger brother looked.

"He gave me the positives and the negatives, and just let me make my own decision," Airman Morford said. The then-25-year-old enlisted as a communications operations Airman.

Though he was initially assigned to Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., the new Airman switched with another student after being informed that the assignment would not be affordable for him and his wife.

He found out the other student  was assigned Goodfellow and swapped with him. Both brothers said the chance to live within a few miles of each other was great.

"For me, it was very weird at first," Sergeant Wallace said. "I hadn't lived near family for 10 years, and the routine I was used to was very different. It changed life for the better." Airman Morford agreed.

"He helped me acclimate to the new area, to find things and answer questions," Airman Morford said, adding that his brother's leadership role helped him gain perspective on being an Airman.

"He helped ground me," Airman Morford said. "At first I wanted to do everything right away -- you know how you are when you get out of basic training -- but he taught me to do the best job I could and to get involved, and take things one at a time."

That lesson, and the motivation that goes with it, has served both Airmen well. Sergeant Wallace was selected as the NCO of the Quarter at the 2nd Air Force level, and is the Goodfellow Air Force Base NCO of the Year. Airman Morford, described by Chief Master Sgt. Paul Moreau, 17th Training Wing command chief master sergeant, as a "hard-charging Airman," was selected as the Airman of the Quarter at the wing level as well. Sergeant Wallace said he's proud of his younger brother, but he's not too worried that Airman Morford will catch up with him before he retires.

"It's always a possibility," the older brother said, laughing. "A more likely chance is that he'll go officer and outrank me that way. But if I have my way, I'll make chief well before that happens." 

While the competition is helpful to both Airmen, Sergeant Wallace and Airman Morford said the best part of being stationed together is how closely their families have grown.

"It's been pretty awesome, having my kids grow up around their cousins," Airman Morford said. Sergeant Wallace agreed.

"I never would have imagined this would happen to us," he said. "You never know what can happen in the Air Force."