Double take: Brothers’ bond extends far beyond twin upbringing

Staff Sgt. Jordan Peterson (left) smiles at his twin brother, Senior Airman Jarrod Peterson during a photo shoot at Patrick AFB, Fla.  Both Airmen are stationed at the Air Force Technical Applications Center as web developers for AFTAC’s Cyber Capabilities Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew S. Jurgens)

Staff Sgt. Jordan Peterson (left) smiles at his twin brother, Senior Airman Jarrod Peterson during a photo shoot at Patrick AFB, Fla. Both Airmen are stationed at the Air Force Technical Applications Center as web developers for AFTAC’s Cyber Capabilities Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew S. Jurgens)

Senior Airman Jarrod Peterson (left) glances at his twin brother, Staff Sgt. Jordan Peterson, as the two pose for a photo during a photo shoot at Patrick AFB, Fla., Nov. 30, 2017.   The Peterson brothers are not only assigned to the same wing and squadron; they are also in the same flight at the Air Force Technical Applications Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew S. Jurgens)

Senior Airman Jarrod Peterson (left) glances at his twin brother, Staff Sgt. Jordan Peterson, as the two pose for a photo during a photo shoot at Patrick AFB, Fla., Nov. 30, 2017. The Peterson brothers are not only assigned to the same wing and squadron; they are also in the same flight at the Air Force Technical Applications Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew S. Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It is well known that twins share a unique bond that transcends other sibling relationships. It’s common for twins to live, work and recreate within close proximity to each other throughout their lives.

But for one pair of Air Force twins, they’ve taken that commonality several steps further.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Peterson and his 2-minute-older brother, Jarrod, are assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here. They are both web developers for AFTAC’s Cyber Capabilities Squadron and share the same Air Force Specialty Code – 3D0X4. Not only are they in the same center, squadron and flight, they also sit within feet of each other behind the secure walls of CYCS’s help desk.

And while the Petersons are fraternal twins by birth, their physical traits are so similar that most people think they’re identical.

“One day I was talking to Jordan about a complicated work order and we had a pretty in-depth conversation about how we could resolve the customer’s problem,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Gerspacher, an AFTAC web designer. “Then the next day I went back to ask him a question about what he had discussed, and he just stared at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. That’s when I realized I was talking to Jarrod!”

The Jacksonville, Fla., natives joined the Air Force in 2012 after discussing career options with their parents. “My dad thought it would be a good idea, and my mother thought it was a great idea,” said Jarrod. “My mom’s father and two brothers all served in the military, and I figured I’d gain a lot of valuable experience in a real-world, structured environment.”

“We signed up together and had the same recruiter,” continued Jordan, “but we ended up a month apart in basic training. I remember the first time I saw him at Lackland (AFB). I was marching with my flight, just a silly trainee still in civilian clothes, and I saw this random group of trainees in uniform. One of them seemed to be staring me down, and there’s Jarrod, just standing there with this smug grin on his face while my flight trudged on by. I tried to signal him with a slight head-nod to acknowledge that I’d seen him – you know, in a real cool, nonchalant kind of way, but I ended up doing this hard whole-body move. Thank goodness my MTI (military training instructor) missed that!”

“Yeah, that was hysterical!” said Jarrod. “When his MTI first saw me, he did a double-take and gave me this confused look as if he were thinking to himself, ‘Hey, I know that kid’ but he kept on going. I laughed to myself when I saw Jordan’s in-cadence body nod!”

For now, there is one indicator that makes it easy for the untrained eye to tell them apart. Jordan sewed on his E-5 stripes in February 2016, while Jarrod is patiently waiting for his line number to arrive so he can sew on his hard-earned staff sergeant rank.

“I’m older, I’m taller and I went to basic training a month ahead of him, but he outranks me by mere months,” Jarrod joked. “Actually, when he made staff, our leadership gave me more of a hard time about it than anyone, and they were pretty relentless with the ribbing. So much so that Jordan didn’t get to have as much fun with it. I felt kind of bad that his shining moment was kind of taken away from him.”

The brothers have long been rivals since childhood, but genuinely care about each other’s success as well as individuality.

“We have a lot of similarities and likes, but as we’ve grown older, we seem to have settled into our own individual roles and don’t seem to benefit from the constant twin comparison,” said Jordan. “We’re both married with our own families and lives, but we still carve out off-duty time to hang out, watch TV or game together.”

Still, the duo’s similarities are eerily ever-present.

“We often finish things at the same time with a very similar results,” Jarrod said. “Just recently we took what’s called a Sec+ exam for IT security certification, and we both scored a 790.”

With a combined 10 years of service, the Airmen are still deciding whether or not the Air Force will be a full 20-year career for them.

“I’m still on the fence if I’m going to go the full distance to retirement,” said Jordan. “Some days I look forward to starting a commercial career, while others I look at the sense of belonging and camaraderie I have in the Air Force, which pushes me towards staying in. Either way, I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.”

Jarrod echoed his brother’s sentiment.

“I’m on the fence as well. My future with the Air Force truly depends on how much personal growth I see throughout my experiences in the military. If the writing is on the wall to stay in, I will. But if I think I’ll progress more on the outside, I’ll go that route.”

He added, “I think Jordan and I have had our twin moment for now, so I can’t ask for more than that. But if the future holds another assignment in the same location with my brother, I’d like to be surprised!”