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Two brothers, one mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Suarez
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The phrase “One Team, One Fight” is a morale booster in the Air Force where cohesion and camaraderie are the cultural norms. This motto came as second nature to the Williams brothers.

First Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, 927th Air Refueling Wing pilot and Capt. Cory Williams, 315th Airlift Wing pilot, both wear the same uniform but have very different lives when speaking about their Air Force careers.

The two pilots recently embarked on a refueling mission together. Beau flying the KC-135 Stratotanker to refuel a C-17 Globemaster III flown by his brother over the coast of the Florida Keys.

The Williams brothers were heavily inspired by their father who was a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-47 Stratojet pilot in the Air Force for 10 years. Former Capt. Jim Williams was not only their father, inspiration and mentor, he was also the person to teach and guide them on their first solo flights.

Beau began flying as a civilian contractor overseas doing Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Flight operations.

Joining the Air Force was always a dream for Beau, who completed his training December 2018. Between his father being in the Air Force, doing ISR overseas and then watching his brother graduate from the Air Force Academy, Beau wanted his shot before it was too late.

With all of his flight training done prior to joining the Air Force, Beau went back and forth about going active duty or joining the Air Force Reserve. With slight input from Cory, growing up in Sarasota, being married and having the opportunity to be part of the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base he knew the reserve was the right choice for him.

While Beau is part of the reserve unit here, his brother Cory chose a different path, one that led him to the active duty component and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

With a 14-month age difference, Cory, the younger of the two, attended the Air Force Academy, where he excelled in his courses and was top of his class in pilot training school which allowed him the opportunity to decide which type of aircraft he wanted to fly.

“I remember Cory calling and asking me which type of aircraft I think he should fly, we both love heavies so I suggested a C-17,” Beau said laughing. “I’m not sure if I was his influence on his choice or the base location.”

Rather than a sibling rivalry, these two encourage and support each other in their lives and careers.

Since Capt. Williams was already in the Air Force and completed flight training school, he now had the opportunity to mentor his big brother.

“Cory had a lot of knowledge and experience from when he went to pilot training, which was helpful for me as I made my journey through,” Beau said .

When it came to graduating pilot training school, Beau had Cory pin on his wings, now having the privilege to salute his younger brother.

These brothers have an abundance amount of motivation just from watching each other grow up and excel in their careers. The encouragement doesn’t stop between the two, they have their families to thank for all their support as well.

With a four hour flight time between the two brothers from Tampa to Charleston, South Carolina, the two pilots mey in the air March 15, coming safely as close as two aircraft can to perform a refueling mission.