Brothers for life: ROTC cadets to Juvat pilots Published Feb. 24, 2021 By Capt. Jaclyn Sumayao 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- If you’re walking around the Wolf Pack, you might just bump into Maj. Chris “Tuco” Harrison and Maj. Douglas “Bane” Jenkins hanging out together after work. At first glance, you can tell they are close friends, but their friendship goes way back, before their time at Kunsan. It was the year 2006, when freshmen Chris Harrison and Douglas Jenkins began their ROTC experience at the prestigious Tuskegee University. They joined its Air Force ROTC Detachment 015, which also produced the 8th Fighter Wing’s first “Wolf 2” and first African-American four-star general, Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James. Little did they know they would be going on a long journey in the Air Force together, for years to come. As brand new cadets, Harrison and Jenkins met through daily, mandatory physical training, or PT, leading them to become quick friends. The two constantly challenged themselves and each other, improving the skills they would need as officers in the U.S. Air Force. “Overall, it was a really wholesome experience,” Jenkins said. “I was much newer to the concept of pursuing a military career, so I leaned on Tuco pretty hard in the beginning, as I navigated an unfamiliar arena…it’s been a brotherhood since the first day of PT.” During their time in ROTC, Harrison dreamed of earning his wings to become a pilot, but Jenkins had something else in mind. He was on his way to becoming an Air Force engineer. After many long conversations, Harrison was able to convince Jenkins to compete for a pilot slot. “It’s fun when you have a good friend to go through the program with,” Harrison said. “I convinced him to be cool and get some wings!” The two became roommates for their last two years of college, dreaming of one day flying together in the same unit. Both were selected to become pilots. They pushed each other to finish strong in ROTC. After four years of hard work, the duo commissioned into Air Force. They attended UPT together at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. “Pilot training is a rigorous, exhaustive, time-consuming program,” Jenkins said. “So to have your best friend around as you both experience the highs and lows of a formal training course was definitely a game-changer.” In August 2012, a little over a year after arriving at Laughlin AFB, they graduated from UPT in the top 15 percent of their class. “Completing pilot training was by far the most rewarding experience of my life; and to achieve that goal with my brother just made it even more meaningful,” Jenkins added. “We were personally invested in each other's success, and that sentiment manifested into the whole team winning. That's something I'll never forget.” The next eight years kept them busy and assigned to different units around the Air Force, but their friendship remained strong and they kept in touch. “We ran into each other a few times over the years,” Harrison said. “We attended each other’s B-course graduations, spoke together at an alumni panel at our alma mater, and met up for Oktoberfest in Germany!” Fast forward nine years into their military careers, and the friends found their paths finally crossing yet again. Their dreams of flying in the same unit finally came true, when they were both assigned to the Wolf Pack’s 80th Fighter Squadron. “We flew in a formation together for the first time ever back in September 2020, for Bane’s local area orientation,” Harrison said. “Also flew a cool night sortie with him a few months back.” It’s been a minute, but according to the two pilots, not too much has changed since their days in ROTC. “Tuco has grown taller and hit the weights since college, so it's a little more difficult for me to bully him these days,” Jenkins joked. “It's an adjustment that I'm slowly coming to terms with.” Tuco and Bane continue to “Crush ‘Em!” as Juvat pilots, all the while enjoying the time they get to work and fly together once again. “It's pretty dope,” Jenkins said. “Tuco and I have been plotting to fly in the same unit since the day I got my Viper assignment in 2016, so it’s surreal to finally see that come to fruition.” “For us,” Harrison added. “We’re just two best friends getting paid to fly some cool jets!” 1) State your full names and job at the Wolf Pack. Harrison: Maj Chris “Tuco” Harrison: 80th Fighter Squadron, Assistant Director of Operations/80th Fighter Squadron, Chief of Standards and Evaluations Jenkins: Maj Douglas "Bane" Jenkins, Program Manager, 8th Fighter Wing Advanced Programs Office 2) Where are you both originally from? Harrison: Baltimore, Maryland Jenkins: Cincinnati, Ohio 3) What ROTC Detachment did you both attend? What years were you there/commission? Harrison/Jenkins: Air Force ROTC, Detachment 015 at Tuskegee University from 2006-2011. 4) Were you close friends as cadets? Harrison: You know it! We became friends at PT we had to attend every morning. We’ve been best bro’s ever since! Jenkins: You could say that! We were combat-paired in ROTC from the beginning. We became roommates for our final two years... it's been a brotherhood since the first day of PT. 5) How was your experience in ROTC together? Harrison: It was good, it’s fun when you have a good friend to go through the program with. Lots of fun times. I convinced him to be cool and get some wings! Jenkins: Overall, it was a really wholesome experience. I was much newer to the concept of pursuing a military career, so I leaned on Tuco pretty hard in the beginning as I navigated an unfamiliar arena. Actually, Tuco was one of the main influencers on my decision to pursue the pilot AFSC; I was dead-set on being an engineer, completing 4-yr ADSC and getting out. We had many conversations during our sophomore year, where he constantly tried to get me to submit for pilot. Talk about peer pressure. 6) When did you go through pilot training? Did you go together? If so, what was it like having each other around for training? Harrison: We were basically attached at the hip from 2006 all the way to 2012. We went through pilot training in the same class and flight from May 2011-August 2012. I was actually slated for a later class than he was but someone dropped out so I moved up to Bane’s class. Super glad it worked out that way. Being in the same UPT class was a touchdown! We basically leaned on each other throughout the process for us to make it to graduating in the top 15% of our class (humble brag)! Jenkins: Tuco and I went through pilot training at Laughlin AFB, TX from 2011-2012. We actually were in the same class, which was a huge help! Pilot training is a rigorous, exhaustive, time-consuming program, so to have your best friend around as you both experience the highs and lows of a formal training course was definitely a game-changer. Completing pilot training was by far the most rewarding experience of my life; and to achieve that goal with my brother just made it even more meaningful. We were personally invested in each other's success, and that sentiment manifested into the whole team winning. That's something I'll never forget. 7) What bases have you both been to before? Harrison: Laughlin AFB (Pilot Training), Randolph AFB (Intro to Fighter Fundamentals), Luke AFB (F-16 B Course), Homestead ARB (First CAF Unit), Kunsan AB (Pantons), Eielson AFB (18th Aggressors), Kunsan (Juvats!/Present) Jenkins: I stayed at Laughlin as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP), then in 2016 I went to F-16 B-Course at Kelly Field, JBSA-Lackland, TX. Prior to my Kunsan assignment, I was assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, IT. 8) Being stationed in Kunsan, was this the first time you saw each other since you commissioned? Have you stayed in touch prior to getting here? Harrison: Of course not! There was UPT for one…we also ran into each other a few times over the years, We attended each other’s B course graduation, spoke together at an alumni panel at our alma mater, and met up for Oktoberfest in Germany! So yeah..quite a few meet ups. Jenkins: We were able to meet up several times in-between this assignment and UPT. He's my brother, so we always stayed in touch throughout the years. 9) What’s it like having an old friend from college now working at the Wolf Pack here in Korea? Harrison: It’s awesome! The Wolfpack tends to build comradery through experiences you encounter here. Jenkins: It's pretty dope. Tuco and I have been plotting to fly in the same unit since the day I got my Viper assignment in 2016, so it’s surreal to finally see that come to fruition. 10) How is it working together? Are there special/unique experiences you’ve shared working together at Kunsan? Harrison: It’s great, we flew in a formation together for the first time ever back in September 2020 for Bane’s local area orientation. Also flew a cool night sortie with him a few months back. Jenkins: We've actually flown together several times, so that's checked off the bucket list! 11) Since the time you’ve both commissioned, what major life changes has happened? (Marriage, kids, ect) Harrison: Individually a lot..but for us, just two best friends getting paid to fly some cool jets! Jenkins: Probably the only thing is Tuco has grown taller and hit the weights since college, so it's a little more difficult for me to bully him these days. It's an adjustment that I'm slowly coming to terms with. 12) Is there anything else you’d like to add? Harrison: Crush ‘Em! Jenkins: Crush 'Em!