Twins join forces in support of APEC
15 November 2018
The chances of having family on operations together are minuscule at best – let alone identical twins. However, that is the case for the Longley brothers.
Andrew and Simon Longley are among 1500 Australian Defence Force personnel supporting the Papua New Guinea government in ensuring a safe and secure Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2018 Leaders’ Week in Port Moresby from 12-18 November.
Almost 30 years after joining the Air Force on the same day, the identical twins are deployed on Operation APEC Assist – Andrew as the Warrant Officer Engineer of No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit, and Simon, a squadron leader, as Chief of Combat Operations.
“It has been great serving on operations with my brother. It has made the experience more memorable and I know our families and parents are very proud,” Simon said.
Growing up on the remote Nullarbor coastline in South Australia, the military wasn’t a huge part of life for the brothers.
That changed when a Royal Australian Air Force P-3C Orion spectacularly flew over their fishing boat.
The encounter sparked a strong interest in the Air Force, which the pair maintained throughout high school before a trip to the Adelaide Defence Force Recruiting centre at age 17.
Simon had an initial setback as his dream of joining as aircrew was unachievable due to age restrictions. So, driven by their mutual interest in electronics, the twins joined up as radio technicians in 1989.
“We never expected to be accepted at the same time, but it was a nice surprise,” Simon said.
They went on to graduate from recruit school and electronics technician training together before going their separate ways as Simon was posted to RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and Andrew to RAAF Base Richmond in NSW.
The pair shared many things in the early days, including their salary. The confusion caused by identical twins being on the same course meant only Andrew was paid for the first few months.
In 1995, Simon achieved his original goal and re-mustered as an airborne electronics analyst on the Orion aircraft, eventually commissioning as an air combat officer in 2002.
Andrew said: “We’ve both had great careers and sharing our Air Force experiences has been special. Even more importantly, we’ve remained best mates throughout the whole journey.”