Bromance at the Freedom Wing
By Senior Airman Ruben Rios, 514th Air Mobility Wing
/ Published September 20, 2019
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst --
It’s the last day of school. You’re excited to see all your friends, but you’re more excited to finally graduate and receive a diploma. Afterwards you’ll all go get a cold pop and think, “we may be graduating, but we’ll be friends forever!”
Except you only see them at the reunion years later, if at all.
Whether due to time, distance, or careers, many people have experienced losing touch with the friends they once had and thought they would have forever.
This, however, does not apply to the bromance of Senior Airmen Jean M. Desrosiers and Angel J. Latorre, both laboratory technicians with the 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., who have worked together since their enlistment in August 2012.
“We swore in during Air Force Week under the Statue of Liberty with our reserve t-shirts on,” said Desrosiers.
After taking the Oath of Enlistment together, Desrosiers and Latorre participated in the Delayed Training Flight together before leaving for Air Force Basic Military Training on November 1, 2012.
However, unbeknownst to Desrosiers who is from New York City, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy would delay his flight to BMT, leaving him stranded in Philadelphia.
“I had to get a ride from my recruiter because of how bad New York was from Sandy,” said Desrosiers. “They were shipping us out from Philly, when I found out the flight was delayed. Luckily Latorre happened to be there.”
Instead of stressing over how he would spend the night, Desrosiers was able to stay with Latorre, who is from Philadelphia, until it was time for them to fly to basic training.
“First we went to Wendy’s and I got the biggest burger I could find,” said Latorre. “We ate then went back to my parents’ house to sleep. The next day we flew out.”
As fate would have it, upon arrival to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, they would soon find out they were not only in the same training squadron flight, but also bunk mates in their dormitory.
“Not only did we end up in the same flight, we were top bunk, bottom bunk,” said Desrosiers. “At least we were initially. I think they pulled us apart because we worked together way too efficiently and the point of boot camp is to work together with everyone.”
Although disappointed to now be in different bays of the same dormitory, Desrosiers and Latorre understood it was just part of the BMT experience.
“Here’s the thing you go in there and it’s supposed to be a stress induced environment,” said Latorre. “Whereas our flight mates were still looking for a partner to make their beds, we were already done. I’m pretty sure the instructor came into our room and said ‘bed 29, do push-ups.’”
Desrosiers and Latorre were not separated for too long however! They both would end up undergoing further training together spanning a period of more than 18 months.
Following their training, they both returned to the 514th AMDS and their peers would soon realize they were a package deal.
“Everybody here thinks we’re two peas in a pod,” said Desrosiers. “If one of us is without the other, they ask where the other is. It’s almost as if it’s a problem that we’re not together.”
With the 72nd birthday of the U.S. Air Force around the corner, the bros were asked if they would still be as close when they turned 72.
“Yea!” shouted Latorre. “Jean is going to be at my house.”
The sentiment resonated with Desrosiers.
“As far as I’m concerned, with Latorre, he’s family,” said Desrosiers. “When it comes to relationships in life, I feel like you have to go through some kind of difficulty together or else it’s not going to be a forged bond, it won’t be close-knit, and that’s what we did.”