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From Sea to Sky: Twin brothers find careers with the Canadian Armed Forces

Twin brothers Corporal Evan Sidle and Sailor 1st Class Keiran Sidle.

Distance makes the bond grow stronger according to twin Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Sailor 1st Class (S1) Keiran and Corporal (Cpl) Evan Sidle.

Despite their personal inclinations for sky and sea, and the distance between their bases in Halifax and Quinte West, Ontario, the Sidle brothers find a way to show up for each other at every milestone.

Having joined the CAF first as a boatswain with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), S1 Sidle encouraged his brother to follow in his footsteps. He thought it was only fitting that he be the one to swear his twin into the Air Force, surprising him at his ceremony.

“They were calling people alphabetically and someone behind me got called ahead,” Cpl Sidle recalls. “As soon as they called my name, I saw Keiran coming up the laneway. I couldn’t believe he was there.”

It was a proud moment for both brothers.

“I read him the solemn affirmation, and shook his hand,” S1 Sidle recounts. “It was wicked. Being able to say that I swore my own brother into the military is pretty sweet.”

The Sidle brothers were cadets as teens but didn’t immediately enroll in the CAF when they became eligible. They both held several jobs including starting an “odd jobs” crew together that involved everything from mowing lawns to changing lightbulbs.

But with time, S1 Sidle’s passion for the military eventually called him back. The discipline, responsibility, and reward he found in a career with the Navy was something he wanted to share with his brother.

“I was just looking out for him,” S1 Sidle said. “The CAF is fantastic. It’s steady paying and you have security. I got a house and cars and started a family. I figured that if I could do that so quickly, my brother could too and have a good life.”

Cpl Sidle, who was studying to become a police officer at the time, always wanted to be in uniform. He heeded his brother’s advice and joined the Air Force. Now a Mobile Support Equipment Operator he’s responsible for operating transport vehicles and heavy equipment, and fuelling planes.

He says it’s the teamwork and camaraderie that has kept him around.

“I loved how you could rank up and gain respect and responsibility through dedication and hard work,” Cpl Sidle said. “Having the uniform is a way to show pride in your work and I love that.”

Cpl Sidle aspires to rank up to Master Corporal in the coming years. He says he’s thankful his brother gave him a push in the right direction, despite his initial hesitation to enlist.

“I wish I would have joined sooner,” he said. “Just seeing what the job offers…I would have joined sooner had I known what the military was actually like.”

The Sidle brothers believe there is still work to be done to improve the CAF’s reputation. In recent years S1 Sidle found a passion for teaching and a way to create a positive space as an instructor. He says despite negative conceptions about the military, there is room for positive change.

“I’m trying to be the difference that the Navy needs,” he said. “I’m leading positive change through the way I teach my students. I just want to instill positive change at the beginning, so they have a positive experience with the Navy from the get-go.”

He says the next step in creating a better culture within the CAF, is more support for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The sailor was reminded of the prevalence of PTSD among CAF members when he recently helped a neighbour and veteran who was struggling.

“I want to bring more awareness,” said S1 Sidle, who believes a strong support system is essential to working in the CAF. “Locally, there is a group called Replenish Around Shipmates (RAS), a retreat for veterans, police, firefighters to go to and speak about their problems and get help.”

He says he hopes more groups become available, so his fellow members find a safe and supportive space. S1 Sidle is thankful to have a support system through his brother despite their 1,620 kilometers of separation. The feeling is mutual for his twin.

“When I get to see him, it’s like I saw him yesterday,” Cpl Sidle said. “It’s an instant connection.”

Source: The Maple Leaf