Army Sgt. 1st Class John Thompson, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter standardization instructor with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, found his calling as a unit victim advocate and now volunteers in his local community. Thompson is pursuing a degree in human services and plans to work in a related field once he retires from the military. Minnesota Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens ST. PAUL PARK, Minn., April 6, 2016 — Army Sgt. 1st Class John Thompson sits by his phone, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to assist people who’ve been victimized and are at one of the lowest points in their lives. He’s not a police officer or firefighter, but he often finds himself responding at all hours of the night.
Thompson’s experience as a victim advocate in the Minnesota National Guard and as a volunteer in his community has opened his eyes to a problem that persists not only in the military, but also in the civilian world.
“There are a lot of nights that it doesn’t ring, which is a good thing, but there are too many nights that it does. Sometimes it rings more than once and you go out on multiple calls,” he said.
Senior Airman Carlos Taveras, left, a structural maintenance apprentice, disassembles a mandrel from a tube bender while his twin brother, Senior Airman Emmanuel Taveras, an aircraft electrical and environmental journeyman, looks on at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 17, 2016. The twin brothers, from the Bronx, New York, deployed with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron in January. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman) AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, April 5, 2016 — Twin brothers often share similar experiences from birth to high school graduation, but only a few can claim to have deployed together while serving in the same unit.
Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Taveras, an electrical and environmental journeyman, and his twin brother, Senior Airman Carlos Taveras, an aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, are assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron and work in the same building. They arrived here in January, only six days apart.Emmanuel said serving in a deployed location with his brother is a dream come true. “We always wanted this, to be assigned to the same base,” Emmanuel said. “It’s unique to have that happen, especially at a deployed location; we’re so thankful.”
Carlos said there are benefits to being deployed with his brother. “Having him here makes the experience so much easier to deal with,” he said. “It can be stressful at times, but having my brother around makes things better.”