MANSFIELD, Ohio – For members of the National Guard, from the moment you raise your right hand and take the Oath of Enlistment, you gain a family. Brothers and sisters who have your back day and night, supporting you and working alongside you, creating bonds that last a lifetime.
For twins Dylan and Tyler Jenkins and their older brother, Senior Airman Anthony Thielman, the Guard is a family in a more literal sense.
Dylan and Tyler recently enlisted into the Ohio Air Guard, following the footsteps of their older brother, who has been a part of the 200th Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (REDHORSE) for the past four years.
The twins agreed that after hearing Anthony’s stories and seeing the things he has been able to do and experience, they decided they wanted to join as well.
As any siblings could understand, the brothers said that growing up, they weren’t always close. However, the sibling bond is one that can never be broken, and they are excited that the military is going to be another experience they will undergo together.
“The military has been my secret life from them almost,” joked Anthony. “It has been amazing getting to show them the ropes and just show them how much the Guard has changed my life; I can’t wait to see how it changes theirs.”
The brothers aren’t the only siblings who will be serving together at the REDHORSE Squadron, as the Squadron has a rich history of family members serving together. Colonel Michael A. Hyrnciw, commander of the 200th REDHORSE Squadron, has experienced this first hand.
“I continue to serve with my biological brother, however I would have to say that I consider everyone in uniform to be my brother and sister,” said Hyrnciw. “We all serve and protect one another as if we truly are brothers and sisters; bonds are developed after training events and deployments which go beyond the concept of wingman.”
The twins are hoping to go through basic military training at the same time and share that experience. Although they have not yet received dates for basic, they are eager to go, as they know the sooner they leave, the sooner they will be back and able to start making an impact.
“We are really looking forward to getting through basic and getting back here to begin doing our jobs,” said Tyler. “I joined because honestly, I just love this country, and I am really looking forward to being able to serve and fight for it.”
Although the brothers chose different jobs within the REDHORSE, they will be working side by side, as no job can be successful without the other.
For the most part, we still work closely together completing projects and missions, said Anthony.
“With Dylan being a structural specialist, and Tyler being an electrical systems specialist, they will work hand in hand to get the job done,” said Anthony. “With me being an engineer, engineers oversee everything, so we all will be working closely together.”
Looking to the future of what the twins have yet to experience, Anthony offered advice he hopes will help them to succeed.
“Don’t be shy; take the time to get to know people,” said Anthony. “You are going to make so many connections with people all over the country, just go out there and soak it all up. It’s a great opportunity you’ve been given, just go out there and make something of it.”