It's golden hour on the flight line at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. A maintainer makes the same routine inspections that he’s performed for the past 31 years. However, this inspection is different from all others before, because this time walking alongside him is his son.
Senior Master Sgt. Steve Veers, 176th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron NCO in-charge of special projects, and his son, Airman 1st Class Isac Veers, 176th EFS aviation resource management journeyman are currently deployed together from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wisconsin.
"It's awesome to be able to share your life's experiences with loved ones," said Steve. "This is such a unique opportunity to share an experience with my son."
Like most children born into military families, Isac has witnessed his father deploy many times over the course of the past 20 years.
"After all of the years being at home while he was gone it's definitely cool to have the opportunity to be on the opposite side of that and actually be here with him," Isac said. "It's like a passing of the torch as this is his last deployment and my first."
SMSgt. Veers originally enlisted in the United States Air Force as a Propulsion Technician in 1990 and was sent to his first duty station at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.
"I wanted to learn a skill that I could use and I saw the Air Force as a way that I could do that. I was mechanically inclined and I wanted to enhance those skills" said Steve. "So being a jet engine mechanic really intrigued me."
After seven years on active duty at D-M, SMSgt. Veers decided to join the Air National Guard which would take him back home to Wisconsin where he has served with the 115th FW for 24 years.
"It's actually a funny story because I didn't even know that there was a fighter base in my home state," said Steve. "I was working on the flight line one day and noticed a Wisconsin tail on a bird out on the flight line. I asked the guys that were on a temporary duty assignment with the aircraft where they were from. That led them to inform me of a position opening at the base, I applied and soon after that, I began working part time for the Air Force."
Growing up with his dad as an influence, Isac was exposed to the Air Force culture and witnessed firsthand the many benefits that the Air Force has to offer.
"Flying was the biggest draw for me," Isac said. "I've wanted to be a pilot since I was six and as I got older, got to know more about the Air Force and spent time around the base, my dad really gave me the experience that I needed and eventually helped me through the entire enlistment process."
Isac enlisted in 2019 and is using this time serving alongside his father to propel himself forward in his goal of becoming a fighter pilot.
"It's the small things that I've tried to pick up on from my dad that I’ve taken over into my work area," said Isac. "His work ethic, not being afraid to be the first one in and the last one out, whether it's taking shorter lunch breaks or being the last guy to lock up the doors. He also has a very gifted way that he's able to work with his faith, walk in the way that he believes and not suppress or hide it in the workplace. It's impressive to me."
As Senior Master Sgt. Veers prepares for retirement and reflects back on thirty one years of service, there is one term that he uses repeatedly: blessed.
"I couldn't be more blessed in my career and now to be deployed with my son," said Steve. "There are lifelong memories that will come out of this and shared experiences that he and I will be able to reflect on for years to come and probably talk about with his kids and my grandkids."