Mississippi twins join Air Force together

A pair of twins and recent graduates from Gautier High School are choosing to take their next steps together into military service.
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 6:09 AM EDT
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GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - A pair of twins and recent high school graduates from Louisiana are choosing to take their next steps together into military service.

Aalyssa and Aaliyah McSwain are twins and recent graduates from Gautier High School. From the time they were born, it’s been easy to mistake one for the other, WLOX reports.

“Everybody says they want a twin, and I’m lucky to have one,” Aalyssa McSwain said.

“I was born with a best friend, so I’m never alone and I always have someone to talk to,” Aaliyah McSwain said. “It’s just like two of me, you know.”

Their mother, Keisha Pilkington, has been with them every step of the way.

“They mean the world to me,” Pilkington said. “Everyone always thought they were identical saying, ‘Who is who?’ They always ask questions like how can you tell them apart, but they are different.”

When it came time to plan for the future, the twins, who have always been together, decided they would both join the Air Force. This week, they leave for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

“It’s going to be very tough, and we know that,” Aalyssa McSwain said. “I feel like we have an advantage because I know that I have someone that I have been with for a long time, and I know she’s rooting for me.”

“It’s physically and mentally demanding, but if we’re able to work together and push each other, I feel like we can go a long way,” Aaliyah McSwain said.

Serving their country together won’t be the first time the McSwain twins have teamed up. They made for a tough combination on the high school basketball court.

“The way they looked at each other, they knew what the other one was going to do before she knew it,” Pilkington said. “It was really nice watching them.”

Although it’s no guarantee the twins will be matched up together for basic training, they are planning to both have the same specialty: security forces. Their mom is hopeful they’ll be able to team up again.

“They feed off of each other and protect each other,” Pilkington said. “I think it would be a benefit for them to work together.”

The calling to military service is natural for the McSwains. They come from a long line of military members in their family.

“I feel like we have one of the best countries, and for me to be able to serve coming from family that served, it means a lot to me,” Aalyssa McSwain said.

“I love to help people, so that feeds into that a little bit,” Aaliyah McSwain said. “It’s just letting me do what I love to do, and I’m passionate about helping people.”

As her daughters move on to their next chapter, their mother has a message she hopes will stick with them.

“My message to them is just be yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to,” Pilkington said. “Just make me proud, and you can do it.”

After the Air Force, the twins both plan to work in medical fields.