SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
In the Air Force, it is common to refer to unit members as an Air Force family, but for two Airmen assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, at Spangdahlem Air Base, that’s quite literal.
Brothers Master Sgt. Aaron Farris, 52nd Contracting Squadron Base Support Flight Chief, and Airman 1st Class Daniel Farris, 52nd Maintenance Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief, were united under the same flag.
“Having my brother in Germany has been a tremendous psychological relief,” said Aaron. "Just having someone around that shares my history, family structure and general interests has been a weight lifted.”
Aaron is 13 years older than his brother and left home to join the military when Daniel was 6 years old.
Now, after 15 years apart Daniel follows in his brother’s footsteps moving from his previous duty station in Korea, to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
“I left for the Air Force when Daniel was 6 years old, and I feel like we are finally able to make up for some of that lost time,” said Aaron.
After a long year in the Pacific, Daniel said having his "brother in arms" nearby makes a positive impact on his daily life, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Travel restrictions and lockdown measures in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 make it more difficult, for troops like Daniel, to visit home.
“Having family over here is especially beneficial to my mental health,” Daniel said. “Especially after a year in Korea and having no opportunities to visit home, having that lifeline of support has been excellent.”
Daniel said he’s always looked up to his older brother, but now that he has grown up, their dynamic has altered a bit. The brothers found themselves working side by side, pushing each other to be the best they can be and one way they do that is through a shared outdoor hobby.
“Recently, he has gotten me into mountain biking,” said Daniel. “I’ve always ridden bikes but never at the level he has. Having that brotherly motivation to do better than him really pushes me to better myself at biking and in being healthy in general.”
Off-road biking has bonded the brother’s relationship in Germany, and it’s become a weekly ritual for the siblings.
“Mountain biking is the primary favorite activity for both of us,” Aaron said. “Even though its winter, we ride on Sundays, and afterwards, we go to my house, clean up, build a fire outside, talk, grill dinner and eat together. I treasure these moments because I know they won’t last forever.”
The Air Force has been a bittersweet experience. The Farris brothers said they have enjoyed this opportunity that the Air Force has given them after time apart.
“I see this as one of the most unique and rare opportunities two brothers can have,” Aaron said. “I’m proud of Daniel and how many challenges he has overcome to get where he is at, and I can’t wait to see how far he takes his opportunities.”
Daniel and Aaron only have a few months left together at Spangdahlem. Aaron is headed to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, in May, but the memories of the time they spent together and their relationship will continue forever.