RAF MILDENHALL, England --
One day in 1995 changed the lives of Blake and Whitney Fentress forever. They welcomed three new individuals into this world, each with a different personality, but over time, all with a growing sense of duty to family and country.
Two of these fresh - faced, young siblings, 2nd Lt. Reagan Fentress, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Deployment and Distribution flight commander; and 2nd Lt. Blythe Fentress, 727th Air Mobility Squadron Officer-in-charge of the Air Terminal Operations Center, have been afforded the opportunity to be stationed at RAF Mildenhall together after four years of separation.
Their brother, 1st Lt. Chandler Fentress, currently serves in the Army National Guard in Oklahoma.
“Growing up we were pretty competitive with each other,” Blythe said. “I think this is what led us to want to do something different and pave our own way.”
After graduating high school in 2013, Blythe attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York, where she majored in Maritime Logistics, while Reagan earned her commission after she graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Blythe was recruited to swim and dive, while Reagan exceled academically, which led to them choosing different paths for college.
“But after our time apart, we realized how much we missed each other,” Reagan said. “And we wanted to do everything in our power to get back together.”
Commissioning through the Air Force Academy was clear-cut for Reagan, but Blythe’s Air Force experience began with taking the road less traveled.
“What was great about the USMMA was upon graduation you could either get into the commercial sailing industry or join any branch of the armed services,” Blythe said. “I realized over time that the industry was not something I enjoyed, so I decided to commission through the Manhattan College Reserve Officer Training Corps program and join my sister in the Air Force.”
Deciding to join the Air Force family was all well and good, but the sisters knew the chance of being stationed together at their first base was very slim.
“We were both putting in for our bases at the same time,” Reagan explained. “Since Blythe wasn’t really familiar with Air Force base processes, I submitted my list first and she pretty much copied my list and had the same bases in the same order.”
With both of the sisters having the same career field, they knew that although the same opportunities would be available to them, it was all a matter of those above them allowing them the chance to be together again.
“I wrote up a big paragraph in the base preference comments section explaining how we’ve been apart for four years,” Reagan said. “I explained how it would be good for us, for our relationship, if we would be afforded the chance to be stationed together.”
Once all preferences had been made and lists were submitted, Blythe knew they would be playing the waiting game.
“It was nerve-wracking because Reagan had been notified first that she got RAF Mildenhall,” Blythe expressed. “I immediately called my commander, whom I’ve never met, and simply said ‘Sir, I know you have the list, can you please tell me where I’m going?’
“He said, ‘You got Mildenhall!’ and from that moment I couldn’t hold in my excitement and I immediately called Reagan and we both ended up crying, but of course it was tears of joy.”
Fast forward a year and a half later, and the two sisters have become inseparable again. They both said that they have grown not only as sisters, but as individuals.
“Because we enjoy being around each other so much, it’s easy for us to live and travel together,” Reagan explained. “We’ve traveled all across Europe, enjoyed cooking meals together and spent time talking about life and any problems we may face.”
However, the story of the Fentress pairing at RAF Mildenhall is quickly coming to a close, but both sisters agree they are fully prepared for what lies ahead.
“We have reached a turning point in our relationship,” Reagan conveyed. “I have extended my time here at Mildenhall, but Blythe is close to receiving her new assignment very soon.”
“It’s bittersweet, but we are both really happy we got to be together for our first assignment,” Blythe remarked. “Being that we were both nervous about becoming fully operational and moving to another country, but I feel like we’re both a little more independent and excited for the future.”
Growing as siblings, serving their country together and always having each other’s back while stationed with Team Mildenhall is something they will always share, and each said they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“For me, it goes back to always having a friend, someone I can depend on,” Blythe said. “We talk through each other’s problems, help each other with work and enjoy every minute we’re together.”
“Blythe knows me better than anybody else,” Reagan explained. “She’s known me for 23 years. I love living with someone who knows me, motivates me and challenges me to be better every day.”