Story by Airman 1st Class Taylor Walker
124th Fighter Wing
In 1986, Idaho Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Sid Brown was itching to leave the small town of New Plymouth, Idaho. With the financial burden of college heavy on his mind, he met with an Air Force recruiter in Ontario, Oregon, He quickly found himself in uniform, working as an F-16C weapons load crew member at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
He didn’t know it at the time, but he had just embarked on a career that would last more than three decades and see three of his children follow him into military service. As the Idaho Air National Guard’s senior enlisted leader, Brown is ending his career as his children begin their own careers, each in a different military branch.
“It means a lot to me to have my children serving,” Sid said. “I believe everyone who is able should serve in some capacity – even if they don’t join the military – and I’m very happy they’ve all chosen unique paths to do that.”
The first of Sid’s kids to join the military was Everett Brown, a traffic management specialist with the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen Field. Now a senior airman, Everett said the military is engrained in his family history.
“We have a very long bloodline of military in our family, all the way back to when they stormed the beaches of Normandy, to Vietnam and the world wars,” said Everett. “The tradition has carried on from generation to generation. It’s an established part of our lives.”
For Everett, joining the Idaho Air National Guard was a way to honor his father and the experiences he had as a child on Gowen Field.
“As a kid, I watched my dad come home from deployments and saw the respect and pride he had and I wanted to feel that way,” Everett said. “My dad has always been my hero and it didn’t matter what branch I ended up joining, I just wanted to work hard the same way he did.”
Everett left for basic training the same day his sister, Kassandra, enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard.
Cpl. Kassandra Brown is an ammunitions specialist in Golf Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion. Although she wasn’t initially sure what branch she wanted to join, she knew the military was where she belonged.
“Joining the military felt like something I needed to do,” said Kassandra. “None of my friends were surprised when I finally joined. I feel like I’ve always had that decision in my heart.”
Kassandra said between the conflicting schedules and excessive pride, there’s a bittersweet feeling when it comes to having a family full of military members.
“I feel very proud of my family, but also scared at the same time because you never know what will happen to them,” she said. “But we all have cool stories to share. In our family you always have someone to talk to. You always have someone to relate to.”
Everett and Kassandra’s brother Wesley, who joined the Navy in June 2019, agreed that the support from their family is invaluable.
“They really understand what I’m going through, especially my dad who has had active duty experience,” said Wesley. “He takes time to answer all of my questions.”
Seaman Wesley Brown is a hospital corpsman at Wayne Caron Clinic, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Although his mom’s side of the family has a rich naval history, Wesley’s motivation for joining the military had less to do with his family’s history of service.
“I mostly wanted to branch out from Idaho and experience the world through a different lens than the rest of my family,” he said.
Regardless of their selected branch or individual reasons for joining, Wesley said the military establishes a common thread between him and his siblings.
“I take pride in my family because we’re all doing our part to serve our country,” said Wesley. “We come from a good background with strong morals.”
Although Sid has decades of experience and sits in a highly regarded position, he largely keeps his influence to himself when it comes to his children.
“I do my best to stay out of their careers,” Sid said. “Good, bad or indifferent, it’s their path.”
According to a 2013 Pentagon report, more than 82% of recruits across the Army, Navy and Air Force have a family member who has served in the military. Whether that’s the case or not for a military hopeful, Sid emphasized that it’s important for parents to be supportive of their children’s decisions.
“The military is a great career path,” he said. “Your kids will learn new skills, get great benefits and a great education. They’ll have to stay off drugs and they’ll potentially see the world. Don’t be afraid. Don’t stifle their decisions.”