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    Seeing Double: Twin Brothers Cross Paths aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4)

    Seeing Double On Board Boxer

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brad Kaminksi | Tyler and Phillip Trainor, twin brothers and naval aviators serving aboard USS Boxer...... read more read more

    PACIFIC OCEAN - On Oct. 17, 1991, Robin Trainor gave birth to a set of twins, Tyler and Phillip at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Besides the three minutes of separation that lay between Tyler being born slightly before Phillip, they were identical. Now in their early thirties, the similarities remain: both are serving in the U.S. Navy, aboard the same ship and both are aviators. Their close tie to one another has not faded in the slightest. If anything, it’s only become that much stronger.

    They were raised in San Diego as their father, retired Capt. Stephen Trainor, also served in the Navy as a helicopter pilot. After relocations to Virginia and Pennsylvania for their father’s military career, the Trainor twins moved to Annapolis, Maryland, where their father served as a military professor at his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. Settled in Annapolis, Tyler and Phillip found their stride in school and athletics, following each other closely as they navigated their way through adolescence together.

    “Being a twin has its own unique experiences. We definitely pushed each other but weren’t overly competitive with one another,” said Lt. Tyler Trainor, the passenger mail cargo officer assigned to Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11, embarked aboard Boxer. “We just got along together really well which helped a lot.”

    They shared the same advanced placement classes, were in the same friend group and shared many of the same interests. They both ran cross country and participated in track and field events, running both the 800 meter and the 4x800 relay together. Advancing through their high school years brought many experiences and challenges to the twins, but what really was on the forefront of their mind was their future after graduation. One thought in the back of both of their minds was following in their father’s footsteps as a pilot. During their senior year, they finished the application process for the Naval Academy and were accepted together.

    “Once I got into the Naval Academy reality set in, then Tyler got in and I knew this was going to be an awesome opportunity for multiple reasons,” said Lt. Phillip Trainor, Boxer’s safety officer. “Not only was I going to be able to go through it with someone I’m very close to, but my Dad also went to the Naval Academy. It was an opportunity to serve and eventually fly as a pilot, which I wanted to do, so there were a lot of positive things that lead me to that decision.”

    As they entered the Naval Academy as midshipmen in 2010, they began to experience the new challenges and demands that would be placed on them as future Navy officers, but none of this was without the support of one another. While they may have been separated into different companies, they were still together regularly, spending weekends with each other and friends, participating in the same marathon club team and even running together after class to work in a few more miles during off hours.

    After graduation, Phillip checked in to flight school in May 2014 with his brother following close behind him, arriving only a month later. Once again, the Trainor twins found themselves back together again, undergoing the new set of challenges that awaited them in flight school. From primary school to both selecting helicopters as their primary choice of aircraft as their father did during the start of his career in aviation, Phillip and Tyler continued to tap into that close knit support they had for one another.

    Years of running and hundreds of miles spent together taught them valuable lessons; lessons that they would pull from and refer back to as they navigated the multiple levels of qualifications, milestones and benchmarks each student must achieve before earning their wings and officially becoming a Navy pilot.

    “Just like running, you have to put the work in,” said Tyler. “It might be more of a marathon than a sprint in some cases and it’s not always easy to see the finish line. We definitely pushed each other to get through that.”

    The culmination of the long and difficult process came in the spring of 2016. Phillip was the first to graduate flight school in March while his brother Tyler was the second to graduate a few weeks later in April. The most significant part of their graduation came when their father pinned them, or what is called being winged among pilots, giving each of his sons a pin that he himself wore when he served.

    “You definitely have a bond with other pilots,” said Lt. Phillip Trainor. “But having that bond with your dad is really cool.”

    During the course of their careers in aviation, both Tyler and Phillip have remained close. They certified in the same aircraft post-flight school, the HM-60 Sierra, in the same fleet replacement squadron on Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California. Following their time in the fleet replacement squadron, both were assigned to squadrons based in San Diego, with Phillip going to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and Tyler going to HSC-6. A brief shore duty period finally separated the twin pilots, but as fate would have it, they have once again returned to serve aboard the same amphibious assault ship.

    With the end of their military careers both coming within the next year, subsequently within a short period of one another, Phillip and Tyler are ready to take their years of experience as Navy pilots and further their education before entering the civilian work force. With a combined more than 25 years of Navy service under their belts since beginning their plebe year at the U.S. Naval Academy, both Phillip and Tyler have had their share of lessons learned they have reflected on as they prepare to begin the next chapter in their lives post-military.

    “Learning to live in the moment and be appreciative of where you’re at and take pride in it,” said Phillip. “There’s always going to be something to look forward to, but that’s not a healthy way to live, constantly trying to live in the future. That’s what I’ve learned most about being in the Navy, appreciating where you’re at. It makes things a lot easier.”

    For Tyler, it’s the constant reminder that each military career, no matter how long or short it may be, has its own definition of success.

    “Everyone’s career progression is their own unique story,” he said. At the end of the day, be honest with your command and leadership and they’ll support you all the way. Just realize there is no fixed or set way to be successful in your career.”



    Date Taken: 12.09.2023
    Date Posted: 12.16.2023 01:47
    Story ID: 459572
    Location: PACIFIC OCEAN

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