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Brothers at arms

Lt. Col. Tim Anderson, left, 50th Airlift Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Tom Anderson, 714th Training Squadron commander, are two of three active-duty Air Force brothers that are squadron commanders and lieutenant colonels at the same time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eunique Stevens)

Lt. Col. Tim Anderson, left, 50th Airlift Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Tom Anderson, 714th Training Squadron commander, are two of three active-duty Air Force brothers that are squadron commanders and lieutenant colonels at the same time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eunique Stevens)

Lt. Col. David Anderson (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. David Anderson (U.S. Air Force photo)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AETCNS) -- June started a new chapter in the Anderson Air Force family history when Lt. Col. Tom Anderson took command of the 714th Training Squadron.

Tom is the third active-duty Anderson to become a lieutenant colonel and squadron commander, but what makes this noteworthy is that the brothers are all commanders at the same time.

"It's unique," said Tom.

"(But) everything happens for a reason," said Tim, his twin brother and commander of the 50th Airlift Squadron.

But Dave, the 6th Services Squadron commander at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and the first brother to become a squadron commander, said he thinks it is easy to explain why.

After their father, retired Army Lt. Col. Jim Anderson, left the service; the Anderson family - including 13 brothers and sisters - moved to Colorado, right across the street from the Air Force Academy.

"With its state-of-the-art facilities and a much different look and quality of life programs than we were used to seeing in our Army surroundings ... it was an easy decision to find the path into the Air Force," said Dave, currently deployed to Southwest Asia.

But the brothers decided on slightly different paths - well, at least the twins did.

"I love to fly. There's nothing like being up in the air," said Tim, "but everybody has their own calling, and Dave loves his job."

A sentiment reciprocated by the twins' older brother.

"Tom and Tim have always had that strong desire to fly for our Air Force, and they love what they do," said Dave. "I had the opportunity to go to navigation school, but did not have the aptitude to fly like they do. I was fortunate enough to get a second chance and do something I love to do - and that is to take care of the troops and their families. The services career field lets me do that."

And even though Tom and Tim joined the Air Force to fly, taking care of their Airmen is priority one.

"If you take care of your people, they will take care of the mission," said Tom.

And being a commander allows you to do that, said Tim.

"It is the greatest opportunity in the Air Force to make a difference and lead a team of military and civilian personnel," said Dave. "Command is more than a job - it is an honor and a privilege that nobody should take for granted."

But having brothers who are also squadron commanders to ask advice from is a resource that neither side would give up.

"He's a great resource," said Tom, speaking of Dave. "His experience as a commander comes in kind of handy (when I need) to bounce ideas around."

And Dave doesn't hesitate to call one of his younger brothers when he needs an ear.

"They are a wealth of knowledge on the operations side of the (Air Force) world, and they help balance out my services and quality of life side. They help me understand what the requirements are of the flying world so we can help get the planes off the ground."

And while Dave, Tom and Tim aren't the only Andersons to join the military (seven other siblings joined various military services), they said they feel honored to be at the rank and positions they are in.

"Obviously, a lot (of this) has to do with timing and luck - and we've all been pretty lucky to be where we are today," said Dave. "(But) I'm looking forward to all three of us getting promoted to the rank of colonel, and making our dad and mom proud."