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[November 07, 2012]
Through Airmen's Eyes: Four Airmen bound by blood, oath
Nov 07, 2012 (DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- 11/7/2012 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.) On a quite Sunday morning, the sky glowed with the morning sun over Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Crisp air filled the trainee's lungs as he snapped to attention and began marching, controlling his arm swing and pace.
That morning, Airman 1st Class Timothy Potter was the only trainee in his basic military training flight marching to church -- the same church his three brothers marched to when they were trainees at Lackland just years earlier.
"I'm not sure why this stuck with me, but when I marched to church, I would think of the path my brothers took before me," Timothy said.
Now, Timothy serves alongside his three brothers in the Air Force Reserve in the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
"One thing that felt good about getting my uniform was knowing that my brothers had one too," Timothy said. "It wasn't just my uniform, but theirs as well." The Potter brothers are proud to serve together. They say the serving in the same wing gives them a more intense sense of service.
"I feel like I'm a better version of myself when I'm in uniform," Timothy said. "When I'm with my brothers in uniform, the feeling is amplified somehow. It's not only pride in me, but pride in my brothers as well." "Brothers in arms" takes on a literal meaning for the Potter brothers.
"We all have a sense of honor in serving," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Potter, with the 67th Aerial Port Squadron. "And knowing that my brothers made that same commitment to serve gives me that much more pride." Andrew is the oldest of the four brothers. He started a chain reaction when he joined the Air Force Reserve in 2008. A picture of his grandfather in uniform sparked the desire to serve in the military. If he hadn't taken a simple business card from the recruiters office four years ago, his younger brothers might not have enlisted.
Senior Airman David Potter, 67th APS, was the first to follow in Andrew's footsteps.
"I saw so many people thanking my brother for his service when he came back from a deployment to Iraq, and I thought, 'Why not me '" David said.
Senior Airman Samuel Potter, 67th APS, wasn't far behind. Andrew, David and Samuel joined the Air Force even shared the same recruiter.
With three of his brothers in the Reserve, two of them younger than him, Timothy said he felt like something was missing.
"I went to David's basic training graduation and being in that environment, even seeing trainees getting yelled at, felt right," Timothy said. "The military seemed like something I wanted to be a part of. There's no logical reason, it just felt right." Now all four Potters serve alongside each other, and with all of them in the same wing, there is nowhere to hide and the four say they motivate each other to do their best.
"We are kind of responsible for each other because we're obviously a family, but in the wing we're another kind of family," David said. "So if one fails, we all fail." Being brothers and wingmen, they say it's natural for them to look out for one another.
"The advantage of the Reserve is the opportunity to serve with your family," Andrew said. "As the older brother, I have to be the best Airman I can so I can help them to do the same." Andrew and Samuel had the opportunity to complete their two-week annual training together, and Samuel said, without Andrew, he would have been lost.
"Andrew helped me with my paperwork and watched out for me while we were there," Samuel said. "It was like having an automatic wingman." As glad as the Potter brothers are to be serving together, their mother, Judy, may be the proudest of all.
"It's definitely brought them closer together," Judy said. "I'm glad that somewhere along the line they picked up that pride and love for their country and the desire to serve."
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