Brothers by blood and service: A tale of two Streepys

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ariel O'Shea
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Everyone with a common last name has had this experience: they receive an email, they start reading, and it becomes apparent that it is not for them. Usually, the intended recipient is unknown to them, and they respond to the original sender, informing them of the mistake.

In some cases, however, this scenario will play out, and the email reader will make a phone call and say, “Hey, bro. I got one of your emails again.”

The latter occurs almost daily between Master Sgt. Scott Streepy and Tech. Sgt. James Streepy, two brothers stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Sometimes, it even goes a step further, with unit commanders and other personnel meeting them in person and getting their roles and ranks confused.

It doesn’t help that they both wear an “SF” duty identifier patch and navy blue beret.

The Streepys didn’t stumble onto the same road by coincidence; their familial tie is why they’re here. They are self-described “Air Force brats.” Growing up in a military family took them all over the globe, with Scott being born at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and James being born at Aviano Air Base, Italy. That rolling stone lifestyle suited them.

“Our father was an air traffic controller,” Scott said. “He did a little over 20 years, and I was able to see the benefits of traveling the world. I didn't even know what sitting in one place for more than four or five years was like. After seeing the world as a dependent, I just really wanted to see more of it as a service member.”

With that passionate spirit for adventure, Scott joined the Air Force in February 2009 as a Security Forces Defender. James, six years younger and also inspired by his father’s and now his brother’s service, joined four years later in 2013. When it came to jobs, he knew that he wanted to do something that would allow him to help people directly. Scott was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, at the time, and his duties included traditional law enforcement, which appealed greatly to James.

There was one problem. His big brother didn’t want him to be Security Forces.

“He wasn't too happy about my choice,” James said. “He said that the career field is rough and told me, ‘It's not what you think it is. You're not going to do what you think you’re going to be doing.’”

Scott wasn’t trying to discourage him. Having been in the career field for a few years at that point, he knew that James assumed what many people do before joining Security Forces: it’s just like being a civilian police officer. However, law enforcement is just one aspect of what a Defender does. Security Forces personnel are responsible for missile security, defending air bases around the globe, law enforcement on those bases, combat arms and handling military working dogs. Fortunately, that honesty and firsthand insight convinced James that that was exactly what he wanted to do. He found himself at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and was pleased to discover he would be placed within the law enforcement mission.

Again, with his experience, Scott was able to provide James with professional development advice and a listening ear. James was a great listener as well, and the brothers’ mutual desire to help people informed many of their conversations on how to improve the force. It was a far cry from their childhood, where they would get into the normal sibling squabbles that are usually litigated by running to Mom.

“We really got close when he joined, and we had the same problem sets being Defenders,” Scott said. “We could bounce ideas off of each other for the enterprise. It was always a back-and-forth like, ‘Okay, well, our base does this. What is your base do?’ It was to not only better ourselves but better the people around us as well.”

They spoke each other’s language, which strengthened their connection. “It's really cool to ping off ideas and then know exactly what we're talking about in great detail since we're both in the same AFSC.

Their paths eventually intertwined in 2017 at Peterson Space Force Base, formerly Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

“We were at the 21st Security Forces Squadron and the 4th Space Control Squadron, so we were doing a two-sided mission, supporting Space Command, which turned into the Space Force,” Scott said. “That was our first time being stationed together. Being together again now at Creech is awesome.”

At Creech, the Streepy brothers fulfill different roles. Scott is the superintendent of Advanced Programs assigned to the 432nd Wing Staff Agency. James is a Government Special Access Program Security Officer assigned to the 44th Reconnaissance Squadron. It’s actually thanks to James that Scott caught wind of the job.

James arrived on station first and heard that there was a need for a senior noncommissioned officer in the AP superintendent slot. He knew that Scott had the knowledge and qualifications for the position and reached out with the hope that Scott would be open to filling it. Scott thought it sounded “cool,” and soon, the brothers were together again.

“It came to fruition, which is really cool because the Air Force is still meeting an operational need, and then we, as a family, get to be together,” Scott said. “It's a win-win for the Air Force and for the Streepy family!”

It’s a win-win for the Air Force in more than an operational sense. Scott is exuberant, and James is more reserved, but the two walk around with identical bright smiles and cannot walk through a room without stopping to give a kind word to just about everyone. When it’s time for business, however, the brothers understand the big picture. They have seen the Security Forces career field change with the times and they say that’s a good thing.

“The key is modernizing our force so that we can protect our newest and greatest technologies, protecting intellectual property and, the most important part, protecting our people,” Scott said. “We've definitely shifted our perspective on how and in what manner we need to protect our total force–new weapons and getting plates that are more comfortable for our sister Defenders.”

Speaking of sisters, they have two younger ones, who stuck to the civilian side, both as dental hygienists. They still consider the Air Force a family business though.

“It's great when you join any service, right, but definitely the Air Force,” Scott said. “You're really coming into another family because we take care of our own, and I love it. What's nice is that it doesn't matter what your AFSC is. There are so many awesome things that come with it. Yeah, there's sacrifice, but we are a profession of arms. So I definitely would encourage anybody to join the service. But definitely the Air Force.”

Now, if they would just stop getting emails addressed to yet another Streepy: their father, who is still an Air Force ATC as a civilian.