Family ties: 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron siblings serving together

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Victoriya Tarakanova
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

For two Airmen of the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, the Air Force truly is a family.

Brother and sister Staff Sergeant Michael Gapp and Senior Airman Amelia Gapp, both aeromedical evacuation technicians at the 934th AES at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota, are carrying on a tradition of service and support within their family.

“I have four older siblings, and I had the privilege of watching them struggle through high school, college, adulthood, everything,” said Michael Gapp. “One of those older siblings went into the Air Force, and I saw the way he shifted his attitude about life and his work ethic.”

Michael Gapp had an uncle and other family members who had served in the Air Force, but his older brother’s experience felt a little more personal – and familiar.

“My older brother and I were always super alike,” he said. “In high school, I wasn’t really happy where I was at. I was worried that I was going to carry that lack of motivation to do the busywork in life. I needed a kick in the butt.”

In 2018, Michael Gapp enlisted to work in aeromedical evacuation. Training to help save lives offered Michael Gapp a different experience and helped him discover his passion for the medical field.

“In clinicals, I got to see a little bit of everything,” he said. “From babies being born to people being shot to death, watching it, seeing them tell their families that they’re dead. In clinicals was when I had, for the first time in my life, that moment of ‘oh my God, this is what I want to do going forward.’”

Having an older brother in the service offered Michael Gapp a unique resource: someone who could understand the tougher parts of both his family and military life.

“We all support each other, and it’s family,” Michael Gapp said. “You kind of have your own family in the Air Force, and then family-family. This is kind of both, which is cool.”

History repeated itself for a third time when Michael’s younger sister, Amelia Gapp, enlisted as she approached her final year in high school.

“When I was in high school, I was at a point where I didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise,” Amelia Gapp said. “Both of my brothers were like, ‘you should definitely join.’”

Having always been interested in mental health, Amelia Gapp went to an Air Force recruiter to see if there were any jobs available that aligned with her interests. The recruiter suggested becoming a flight medic like Michael Gapp had a few years prior.

Amelia Gapp’s older brothers helped support her as she decided whether or not to follow in their footsteps.

“My older brother was like a father figure to me, and I totally doubted myself,” she said. “But they were like, ‘you absolutely could.’ I’m glad they pushed me in that direction because I’ve had some great opportunities so far.”

In the armed forces, siblings are rarely allowed to train or work together. However, Michael and Amelia Gapp are able to train together during drill weekends. In March 2023, Michael and Amelia Gapp went on their first mission together: a three-day in-flight training mission over the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s nice because all my frustrations from things I didn’t know – I feel like I can spew information at her,” Michael Gapp said. “Hopefully, it’s not overwhelming to her.”

Amelia Gapp has been incredibly grateful for Michael Gapp’s support throughout her initial training and beyond.

“Anything I had questions on throughout my career, nobody else got that opportunity,” she said. “You can call your friends, but it’s not the same. They obviously support you, but it’s different.”