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Two brothers, small Air Force

6/12/2011 – KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Capt. Jay Harris, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing and Senior Master Sgt. Donaldo Puller, senior noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel, stand together while visiting Kandahar Air Base recently.  The brothers are both stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo at Schriever Air Force Base and Peterson AFB.  Sergeant Puller will redeploy in seven more months while Captain Harris nears the end of his year-long deployment.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

6/12/2011 – KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Capt. Jay Harris, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing and Senior Master Sgt. Donaldo Puller, senior noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel, stand together while visiting Kandahar Air Base recently. The brothers are both stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo at Schriever Air Force Base and Peterson AFB. Sergeant Puller will redeploy in seven more months while Captain Harris nears the end of his year-long deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

KABUL, Afghanistan – Senior Master Sgt. Donaldo Puller, senior noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel (left) poses with his brother Capt. Jay Harris, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, (front) and their third brother Melvin Harris in a family photo taken in 1978.  Sergeant Puller and Captain Harris were recently reunited at Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan – Senior Master Sgt. Donaldo Puller, senior noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel (left) poses with his brother Capt. Jay Harris, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, (front) and their third brother Melvin Harris in a family photo taken in 1978. Sergeant Puller and Captain Harris were recently reunited at Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- It had to be fate.

Driving down the main thoroughfare at Kandahar Air Base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Capt. Jay Harris, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, approached a four-way stop. With his mind on other things, he started to drive when a uniformed military member stepped in front of his car nearly causing an accident. Looking closer, he thought to himself the man looked familiar. As he looked a lot closer, he realized the man was his brother Senior Master Sgt. Donaldo Puller, senior noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel assigned to New Kabul Compound in Kabul.

What Captain Harris didn't realize was his brother was in Kandahar to conduct a staff assistance visit and what Sergeant Puller didn't realize was his younger brother was in Kandahar to visit the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group.

"My brother was on a year-long deployment to New Kabul Compound," said Captain Harris, who is deployed from the 21st Force Support Squadron at Peterson AFB. "I had no idea he would be in Kandahar. He missed his flight back to Kabul and it was only by chance that he stepped off the curb that day."

Although meeting in Kandahar was a random occurrence, serving their country is anything but random for the brothers from Austin, Texas.

From an early age, both had a calling to serve as their family has a rich history in military lineage. Sergeant Puller joined the Air Force in 1987 while Captain Harris joined in 1993. Sergeant Puller immediately began to excel in the personnel field while Captain Harris got his feet wet in maintenance.

"I used to make fun of him for being a support guy while I was in maintenance," said Captain Harris. "Now, I'm in force support as well so there's not much else I can say."

Seeing his brother become the first commissioned officer in the family, Sergeant Puller is quick to point out the influence his brother has had on his 23-year career.

"What I learned from my brother while serving is endurance and stamina. By seeing my brother go through multiple transitions throughout his career, he has always met and exceeded expectations of those around him," explained Sergeant Puller. "Never once has he faltered in his duties and responsibilities. This alone keeps me driving forward and motivated to exceed his expectations as the 'Big Brother.'"

The brothers are also quick to point out they wouldn't be where they are without the support of their family. While both are deployed, they are able to stay in touch daily over such mediums as Facebook and Skype but it still doesn't ease their family's concerns.

"My parents are pleased that we are nearby and have each other to lean on to keep each other strong," said Captain Harris. "It's never easy to have two of your three children in harm's way, but our parents are extremely proud of us."

Although Captain Harris has only a few months remaining on his tour, Sergeant Puller has seven months remaining to complete his year-long deployment. After completion of their tours, the brothers will be reunited as they return to Colorado where Sergeant Puller is assigned to Schriever Air Force Base and Captain Harris is at Peterson AFB and like most brothers; big brother has the final say.

"Of course my older brother will always say he taught me everything, but that's OK, because as a little brother, I know that everything really means some things," said Captain Harris.

Together, they dedicate their efforts towards the war to their family, especially their father who served two tours in Vietnam as an Army combat medic.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui