According to a 2016 article in Time, “Pentagon data shows that 80% of recent troops come from a family where at least one parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, sibling or cousin has also worn their nation’s uniform. More than 25% have a parent who has served.”
Growing up in a family with a line of military service can inspire young people to follow suit. This is the case for Tech. Sgt. Michael Reed and Staff Sgt. Jacob Reed, two brothers assigned to the 88th Security Forces Squadron.
The Reed brothers grew up in Clermont County, just to the east of Cincinnati, and have several family members who served in the Army. Their father and uncle were military police, and a grandfather was Airborne.
“Our dad served in Vietnam and our grandpa was supposed to be there on D-Day but ended up not going because he broke his leg on a rucksack,” Jacob said.
“We’re the first generation to join the Air Force. Our dad wanted us to go Air Force; he knew that the chow halls were better and we would be treated well.”
In 2007, Michael set out to join the Marines, but in the end decided to follow that advice. After talking to a Marine recruiter, he said it wasn’t the right fit for him.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I enlisted. I just knew that I wanted to carry a gun,” he added.
However, a Security Forces job was not his first choice.
“I originally tried for (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school, but that didn’t work out as I had planned,” he said. “So I went with Security Forces instead, and I love it.” Seven years later in 2014, Jacob decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
“I always kind of looked up to him growing up, and I saw what he was making of his life after high school,” said Jacob, 27, who’s five years younger than Michael. “I have always wanted to be a cop since I was kid, and I just knew I wanted I want follow in his footsteps. So, it was a double win for me.” Though life in the Air Force didn’t immediately bring them together, it was not too long before it happened.
Family life In 2015, the Reed brothers both applied for and were approved for humanitarian orders to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, when their mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 cervical cancer. She passed away in 2016.
“We are grateful for not only this opportunity to have served together, but for the Air Force allowing us to be here together to spend the time with our mother before she passed,” Jacob said. “If it hadn’t been for the NCOs in our chains of command, it wouldn’t have happened because we didn’t know anything about the humanitarian orders at the time we got the news.” Now, six years after being stationed together, the brothers are enjoying opportunities for their individual families to spend time with each other during this assignment.
“I’ve got a wife and three kids,” Jacob said. Michael has a fiancée and two children.
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