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Brothers in arms, blood

From left, Airmen 1st Class Leernest Ruffin and LeNard Ruffin, 482nd Attack Squadron intel analysts, stand together at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 29, 2019.

From left, Airmen 1st Class Leernest Ruffin and LeNard Ruffin, 482nd Attack Squadron intel analysts, stand together at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 29, 2019. The brothers have spent their whole lives side by side, and continue that tradition by serving in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

Airmen 1st Class Leernest Ruffin, left, and LeNard Ruffin, right, both 482nd Attack Squadron (ATK) intel analysts, and their father, Col. Leernest Ruffin, Headquarters United States Central Command deputy chief information officer, center, pose for a photo at basic military training (BMT) graduation at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Airmen 1st Class Leernest Ruffin, left, and LeNard Ruffin, right, both 482nd Attack Squadron (ATK) intel analysts, and their father, Col. Leernest Ruffin, Headquarters United States Central Command deputy chief information officer, center, pose for a photo at basic military training (BMT) graduation at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The brothers attended BMT and tech school together and are now stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. (Courtesy photo)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Joining the military can be one of the most important, yet frightening, decisions a high school graduate can make, but having your sibling by your side might make that process easier.

For brothers Airmen 1st Class Leernest Ruffin and LeNard Ruffin, 482nd Attack Squadron intel analysts, this statement rings true.

“We’ve done everything together so far, it just made sense to go to basic together,” said Leernest.

They may only have two stripes on them, but these brothers are no strangers to military life.

Their father, Col. Leernest Ruffin, Headquarters United States Central Command deputy chief information officer, has been in the Air Force for the entirety of the boys’ lives.

“I couldn't be more proud of both of my sons for joining the Air Force and following in my footsteps,” said Col. Ruffin. “They both grew up in the military as military dependents, and I am not surprised that they would both choose a career in the Air Force.”

LeNard said the driving factor for him to join the military was the strong family tradition.

“Our grandfather was a WWII veteran, our father is in the Air Force,” he said. “The rest of our family is part of pretty much every branch of the military.”

Not only did the brothers ship to basic training together, they also attended the same technical training school at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.

After graduation, they were both stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, with the same career.

Leernest said they both had interests in technology growing up, so it made sense to pick a career they both enjoy.

“Leernest and LeNard are basically twins, separated by 18 months, and have been best friends since the day they met, in July 1998,” said Col. Ruffin. “I am ecstatic that they have remained together thus far in their careers, and it certainly makes it easier when visiting.”

When looking towards the future, both brothers plan to get into the world of aviation, whether as pilots in the Air Force or as civilians. As a start, the brothers said they started their flying licenses when their father was stationed in Korea, and they want to end up finishing them one day in the same manner they do everything else: together.