Face of Defense: Twins Complete Long-awaited Re-enlistment
By Samuel King Jr.
Eglin Air Force Base
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Jul. 1, 2013 Air Force Master Sgt. Antone Scott always had wanted his identical twin brother to be a part of one of his re-enlistment ceremonies, but for 10 years, timing and location kept them apart.
Navy Lt. Cdr. Anthony Scott stands with his twin brother, Air Force Master Sgt. Antone Scott, after administering the oath of enlistment to him June 27, 2013, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
But, when Scott raised his hand here June 27 to take the oath for his fifth enlistment, his brother was there to administer it.
"It's a great honor knowing he could have selected any officer for his re-enlistment, but he was willing to make the extra effort and coordinate to re-enlist this way," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Scott, assigned to Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va. "I'm very thankful and blessed to share this moment with my brother and our family."
Sergeant Scott was all smiles during the ceremony. After years of separation, delays and other obstacles, he finally recited the oath to his brother.
"The timing was finally perfect for him to administer the oath to me for both the first and most likely the last time, because this will take me to 24 years of service," the 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron member said.
The brothers grew up in Greenville, Ala. They spent their first 20 years confusing friends, relatives and teachers, who tried to figure out which one was Anthony and which one was Antone. They were always in different classes in school, although they did swap places occasionally without anyone discovering.
"It was easy, because I knew how to act like Antone and he knew how to act like me," Anthony said, laughing. "When we look back at old photos of ourselves, it's sometimes difficult to tell who is who."
Antone remembers those days of having a doppelganger fondly.
"Always having someone by your side growing up and sharing everything was fun," said the master sergeant, who leads 18 members of Eglin's deployment facility. "It's one of the best experiences of my life."
In 1992, the brothers signed up for the Navy together in the delayed entry program, but Antone "jumped ship" before entering and instead stepped into the blue two months later in January 1993.
"He was smarter," Anthony joked.
Throughout their linked life, Antone always has followed Anthony, his big brother by three minutes, especially when it came to education. Anthony completed his associate's and bachelor's degrees, followed a year later by Antone. In further education, Antone is only a few steps behind Anthony, who already has completed his master's degree.
"Anthony was always the overachiever," Antone said with a smile.
Since they joined the military, the brothers have seen each other only sporadically as their careers moved them around the world. They came back together in 2000 while Antone was stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and Anthony attended ROTC at nearby Norfolk State University.
"Just knowing your twin brother is only a few miles away is a great feeling," said Anthony, who was a petty officer 2nd class before receiving his commission through the enlisted commissioning program. "We could get together with each other's families more often."
Antone said he and his brother would meet each week for lunch and talk about their lives and their services.
After Anthony completed the school and earned his commission, Antone was on hand to be part of a time-honored military officer tradition: the first salute.
"I was a bit nervous, but it was so good to have my twin brother give the first salute upon my commissioning, and I passed him the traditional silver dollar," Anthony said. "Navy tradition states you have to buy your first salute and then earn every salute thereafter through your performance by gaining the respect of your subordinates."
Although he's a little older and higher ranking in the military, Anthony said, his brother has always been his mentor.
"Throughout our 20 years of service, we've discussed leadership, guidance and mentorship of leading airmen and sailors in every situation," said Anthony, the commander of Amphibious Squadron 6 at Virginia Beach, Va. "My brother has always given me the confidence and strength to grow, develop and advance as an enlisted sailor and officer."
Both brothers have carried their love for the services to their families. Each brother has three sons of his own, and their eldest sons have chosen careers as soldiers in the Army.
"The Air Force and Navy [have] done great things for me and my brother with traveling the planet, advanced education and supporting our families," Anthony said. "Being able to re-enlist him shows me he will continue to reap the benefits of being an airman while making the Air Force a better institution, because of his service and leadership. It is always a privilege to administer the oath, but it is extra special when it is your brother."