Twin instructors have students seeing double

  • Published
  • By Katie Scott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

Twin brothers Connor and Kyle Egbert share a bond as strong as concrete. Which is appropriate, considering they are both pavement instructors at the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Civil Engineer School and self-described “pavement nerds”.

Their love of pavements stems from a materials science lab at Clemson University during their undergraduate studies where they mixed concrete for the first time.

“We studied the science behind the different properties of concrete compared to other construction materials like wood and steel,” recalled Kyle. “It was so much fun.”

Following graduation from Clemson with Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering, the brothers commissioned and came to the CE School for the Air Force Civil Engineer Basic Course. After earning the CE badge, Connor went to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. joining the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron and Kyle went to McConnell AFB, Kan. joining the 22d Civil Engineer Squadron. Their first assignments marked the start of the longest period of time the brothers had ever been apart.

The six-year separation ended when Connor joined his brother as an instructor at the CE School in June 2023. Kyle had been at the school since December 2021 and was thrilled to have his brother join him.

“It’s pretty unique in our Air Force careers to have this opportunity to be together,” said Connor. “It’s been awesome because we thought maybe the only time it would even be possible is if we both stayed in long enough to make Lt. Col. There are a couple civil engineer groups where we imagined being squadron commanders together 10 years from now,” said Connor.

“Luck just fell in our favor,” added Kyle. “The stars aligned that the position opened up the same time I was here.”

Connor was notified that he was selected to be an instructor at AFIT while he was a student in his brother’s pavement course.

“I wanted to be a student in the course to give me a better understanding of the student experience so I could hopefully be a better instructor,” said Connor.

Having his brother as a student also helped Kyle improve as an instructor.

“Feedback is a big thing for instructors and I know that if I ask him how to improve the course he's going to give me a very honest and blunt answer,” said Kyle. “Plus he is looking at it from a potential instructor’s perspective to see if it makes sense to teach a topic a certain way.”

The brothers wanted to be instructors at AFIT for the opportunity to teach and research a topic that they are passionate about as well as serve as mentors for the next generation of CE officers.

“Captain, now Major, Ryan Hill was our course director for Management 101 and is still one of our mentors to this day,” said Kyle. “We learned so much from him and wanted to give back to the community in the same way. I love having that role for young CGOs now.”

“With us being mid-level Captains now, we want to be somebody that Lieutenants or other Captains can go to with questions,” added Connor. “We were answering questions just the other day from a previous student who had some pavement questions. Having the opportunity to mentor and help others is really important for both of us.”

They bring complimentary experience to the instructor role having served as airfield evaluators and project managers in vastly different climates - Connor was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Ala. while Kyle was deployed to Qatar.

“Alaska summers are generally pretty mild compared to the Middle East,” said Connor. “But the winters can get down to -40 or -50 degrees which presents a lot of unique challenges for pavements. So I have that experience of evaluating and designing things differently because of the thermal distress and related maintenance requirements of cold weather.”

Kyle deployed as the airfield pavement evaluation Officer in Charge to an expeditionary civil engineer group based out of Qatar where he traveled to seven countries across the Middle East to perform evaluations on different airfields. “I traveled to Syria and evaluated soil surfaced landing zones as well, which was very rewarding and a unique opportunity that was really eye opening for me.”

Identical twins who are officers in the Air Force in the same career field and now have the same job may have people seeing double.

“We’re basically the same person,” said Kyle. “We have all the same likes and interests. Our favorite movies are the same and favorite foods are generally the same. We finish each other’s sentences, all the typical twin stuff.”

“The biggest difference between us is that Kyle is probably more extroverted than I am,” said Connor who is older by two minutes.

“But Connor is definitely smarter than me,” added Kyle. “He definitely always got better grades than I did.”

Raised in Charleston, S.C., serving in the Air Force runs in the family. Their father is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who worked as Civil Engineer on active and reserve duty and their older sister serves in the Air Force as a pediatrician. She completed her residency at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio and was preparing to move to MacDill AFB, Fla. just as Connor arrived in Ohio.

“I was really jealous for that year that she and Kyle were at Wright-Patt together hanging out and I was up in Alaska freezing and four hours behind,” recalled Connor.

For fun, the brothers love playing and watching sports, especially soccer and the Braves, and playing video games.

“Even when Connor’s at his house, we'll get on Xbox Party chat and I'll have a headset on and be talking to him when he's just two streets over,” Kyle joked.

Taking care of Kyle’s eleven-month old daughter and hanging out with their German Shepherds – who are also brothers – are top priorities as well.

“They are litter mates that we got as eight week old puppies together when we were at Clemson,” said Connor. “So this has been a reunion for them too.”

Originally, the brothers thought about being C-17 pilots, a nod to their years growing up near Joint Base Charleston, S.C. where they would play soccer and watch the C-17s fly over the field. But when they found out their non-rated job would be CE officers, they chose not to apply for pilot slots.

“We didn’t know if we would get picked up as pilots, and I only wanted to fly C-17s, so we made the decision to forfeit and not take the chance of losing the CE selection,” said Kyle. “I would make that decision another 100 times. I love the CE community. It is such a great network. I have learned so much and we are still fairly young in our Air Force career. But, I would do it again. It’s been so much fun. And now that Connor is here, we are looking to overlap here at least two years, it is going to be amazing.”