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Focus on Family: Helo Brothers

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

Military life can bring on a lot of unfamiliarity. It can be hard adjusting to a new place and new people, but imagine being stationed with a sibling to make the assignment feel like home. The Nissen brothers are an anomaly in the Air Force world because they are both assigned here and work together in the 37th Helicopter Squadron.

Though rare, this arrangement is no coincidence. Tech. Sgt. Justin Nissen, 37th HS standards and evaluation NCO in charge, said they wanted to be stationed together.

“It took a long time to make this happen. We’ve been trying for four years,” said Justin.

The brothers started out in different career fields before cross-training to work with helicopters.

“I started out as a nuclear weapons maintainer for almost 11 years, and then I had a chance to cross-train to my current job,” Justin said. “After a year of flying and showing Tim awesome pictures and videos, he decided to cross-train as well.”

Younger brother Staff Sgt. Timothy Nissen, 37th HS special missions aviator, mentioned his decision to cross-train was based on the 37th HS’s tight-knit community of providing aerial security and support to the 90th Missile Wing’s nuclear deterrence mission.

“As an F-16 engine mechanic, I was a one-man team on the flight line,” Timothy stated. “I was drawn by the comradery and teamwork my brother’s unit used to complete the mission.”

They enjoy not only working together, but also being able to make the most of their personal and quality time.

“It’s awesome. I love working with my brother, and we spend a lot of time together,” Timothy explained. “If you watch the movie Step Brothers, you will understand our relationship.”

The duo spends a lot of time together outside of work including Justin’s wife and twin daughters. The brothers said they are surrounded by love and family here and really appreciate the extra level of support.

“We do a lot together. We’re avid bird watchers, we dirt bike and go camping,” said Justin. “We also sucker each other into helping the other move sometimes.”

The Nissens have a great bond and Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Stewart, 37th HS superintendent, said they bring that energy to the workplace.

“Their personalities are good for morale, and they bring a sense of professionalism that makes it very easy to work with them,” said Stewart.

The two self-described “FlorTexan” brothers have a great personal relationship and strong work ethic. They are best friends, but they don’t allow their bond to hinder job performance.

“They are very competitive and push each other to be better,” Stewart said. “It makes them and our unit more effective overall.”

The assignment here together has been a rare opportunity that benefited the Nissen brothers and the Air Force.