HILL AIR FORCE BASE — “Brothers in arms” is a common expression among military members, but rarely do actual siblings directly complement each other’s contributions to the mission.
At the 388th Fighter Wing, 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush, from the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, are doing exactly that.
When it comes to the relationship between aircraft maintainers and pilots, Sean says that it is important to maintain a close, professional relationship with the crew chief, because every day he steps into a jet, his life depends on the work done by the maintenance team.
“We definitely joke about pilot versus maintenance,” said Sean. “It is a playful rivalry, but we both realize that we 100 percent rely on each other.”
Brandon was assigned to Hill in January 2010, after joining the Air Force more than 10 years ago. When he was just a child, he developed an interest in working with his hands, so when he was asked to build his list of job preferences, he filled all five slots with positions that fell in the mechanical career field.
“The opportunity just kind of fell into my lap,” said Brandon. “My grandpa was also in the Air Force, so it has always been in our blood.”
Sean also followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, who was a fighter pilot as well. While studying at the Westminister College in Salt Lake City, he was simultaneously working toward a commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Utah through a crosstown agreement.
“With Brandon going to the Air Force, a lot of things came together that definitely made me want to fly,” said Sean. “My brother actually gave me my first salute when I commissioned three years ago, so that was pretty cool.”
After completing pilot training, the entire class of graduating pilots is provided a sheet of available bases to choose from, based on his or her respective aircraft training.
“There was one slot to Hill and everyone knew I wanted it,” said Sean. “I really like Salt Lake City, and my wife wanted to go to school at the University of Utah, which she is doing now. With Brandon being here, it was definitely an added bonus.”
Brandon’s tour at Hill is coming to a close; he recently received orders to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. But the brothers agree their time here together was a rarity and very rewarding.