Identical twins, firefighters serve Alconbury-Molesworth more than 30 years

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Chase Sousa
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

Brothers and firefighters Andy and Phil Batten have been serving the RAF Alconbury-RAF Molesworth community for a combined time of over 30 years.

What makes these brothers unique, other than working together in the same building with the same job as firefighters, is that they’re identical twins.

“Its good fun, we work well together and work well as a team,” said Andy. “I love the comradery; you have to trust these guys with your life which I never had before becoming a firefighter.”

Andy Batten is the Fire Station captain and his brother Phil Batten is the Assistant Fire Chief. They are part of the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron, which is headquartered at RAF Alconbury and falls under the U.S. Air Force’s 501st Combat Support Wing.

“It’s a unique experience, its good fun because we know how each other works and what to expect,” said Phil.” We have to be 100 percent reliable and I know he is. The only unique challenge we have is sometimes people don’t know which one we are.”

Both Andy and Phil started as Ministry of Defence firefighters and then moved to new positions as Air Force local hires.

“It was a new concept going into a local hire “said Andy. “I felt vulnerable, it was a leap of faith, but the firefighters here are like family.”

“The training I got through the Department of Defense gave me better understanding of the fundamentals of firefighting,” said Phil. “The standard of training we get here through the Air Force is superior.”

In their off time, the brothers also take part in scientific research with the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology in London.

“We go to London and have been doing twin research for about 15 years,” said Andy.

“We thought it would be a good laugh to do the research, (and) we have made great friendships through our research,” said Phil.

As a rule, the brothers cannot supervise each other, but that doesn’t stop them from working or spending time together.

“I just really enjoy working at Alconbury-Molesworth, we (have) a good team around us in the fire department and outside of it. I enjoy coming to work,” said Andy.

“I think it’s a great place to work… I feel the Air Force really invests in their personnel to make them great at their jobs,” said Phil. “It’s like an extended family.”