AFIT instructors have students seeing double

  • Published
  • By Katie Scott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Twin brothers Connor and Kyle Egbert share a bond as strong as concrete. Which is appropriate, considering they’re both pavement instructors at the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Civil Engineer School and self-described “pavement nerds.”

Their love of pavements stems from a materials science lab at Clemson University during their undergraduate studies, where they mixed concrete for the first time.

“We studied the science behind the different properties of concrete compared to other construction materials like wood and steel,” Kyle recalled. “It was so much fun.”

Following graduation from Clemson with bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering, the brothers commissioned and came to the Civil Engineer School for the Air Force Civil Engineer Basic Course. After earning the Civil Engineer badge, Connor went to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, joining the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, and Kyle was assigned to the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kansas.

Their first assignments marked the start of the longest period the brothers had ever been apart.

The six-year separation ended when Connor joined his brother as an instructor at the Civil Engineer School in June. Kyle had been at the school since December 2021 and was thrilled to have his brother join him.

“It’s pretty unique in our Air Force careers to have this opportunity to be together,” Connor said. “It’s been awesome because we thought maybe the only time it would even be possible is if we both stayed in long enough to make lieutenant colonel. There are a couple civil engineer groups where we imagined being squadron commanders together 10 years from now.”

Added Kyle: “Luck just fell in our favor. The stars aligned that the position opened up the same time I was here.”

Connor was notified he got selected to be an AFIT instructor while he was a student in his brother’s pavement course.

“I wanted to be a student in the course to give me a better understanding of the student experience so I could hopefully be a better instructor,” Connor said.

Having his brother as a student also helped Kyle improve as an instructor.

“Feedback is a big thing for instructors, and I know that if I ask him how to improve the course, he's going to give me a very honest and blunt answer,” Kyle said. “Plus, he is looking at it from a potential instructor’s perspective to see if it makes sense to teach a topic a certain way.”

The brothers wanted to be instructors at AFIT for the opportunity to teach and research a topic they are passionate about, as well as serve as mentors for the next generation of civil engineer officers.

“With us being mid-level captains now, we want to be somebody that lieutenants or other captains can go to with questions,” Connor said.  “We were answering questions just the other day from a previous student who had some pavement questions. Having the opportunity to mentor and help others is really important for both of us.”

The Egbert twins bring complementary experience to the instructor role, having served as airfield evaluators and project managers in vastly different climates – Connor was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska while Kyle was deployed to Qatar.

“Alaska summers are generally pretty mild compared to the Middle East,” Connor said. “But the winters can get down to minus-40 or minus-50 degrees, which presents a lot of unique challenges for pavements. So I have that experience of evaluating and designing things differently because of the thermal distress and related maintenance requirements of cold weather.”

Kyle deployed as the airfield pavement evaluation officer in charge of an expeditionary civil engineer group based out of Qatar, where he traveled to seven countries across the Middle East to perform evaluations on different airfields.

“I traveled to Syria and evaluated soil-surfaced landing zones as well, which was very rewarding and a unique opportunity that was really eye-opening for me,” he said.

Identical twins who are Air Force officers in the same career field and now have the same job may have people seeing double.

“We’re basically the same person,” Kyle said. “We have all the same likes and interests. Our favorite movies are the same and favorite foods are generally the same. We finish each other’s sentences, all the typical twin stuff.”

Connor, who’s older by two minutes, said Kyle is “probably more extroverted than I am,” which could be their biggest difference. 

“But Connor is definitely smarter than me,” Kyle added. “He definitely always got better grades than I did.”

Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, serving in the Air Force runs in the family.

Their father is a retired lieutenant colonel who worked as a civil engineer on active and reserve duty, and their older sister serves in the Air Force as a pediatrician. She completed her residency at Wright-Patterson AFB and was preparing to move to MacDill AFB, Florida, just as Connor arrived in Ohio.

“I was really jealous for that year that she and Kyle were at Wright-Patt together hanging out and I was up in Alaska freezing and four hours behind,” Connor recalled.

For fun, the brothers love playing and watching sports, especially soccer and the Atlanta Braves, and video games.

“Even when Connor’s at his house, we’ll get on Xbox Party chat and I’ll have a headset on and be talking to him when he’s just two streets over,” Kyle joked.

Taking care of Kyle’s 11-month-old daughter and hanging out with their German shepherds – who are also brothers – are top priorities as well.

“They are litter mates that we got as 8-week-old puppies together when we were at Clemson,” Connor said. “So this has been a reunion for them, too.”

Originally, the brothers thought about being C-17 pilots, a nod to their years growing up near Joint Base Charleston, where they would play soccer and watch the large military transport aircraft fly over the field.  But when they found out their nonrated job would be as civil engineer officers, they chose not to apply for pilot slots.

“We didn’t know if we would get picked up as pilots, and I only wanted to fly C-17s, so we made the decision to forfeit and not take the chance of losing the CE selection,” Kyle said.  “I would make that decision another 100 times. I love the CE community. It is such a great network. I have learned so much and we are still fairly young in our Air Force career.

“But I would do it again. It’s been so much fun. And now that Connor is here, we are looking to overlap here at least two years. It is going to be amazing.”