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Separated by distance, reunited by service

Two uniformed men stand in front of a EA-18G Growler aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Trevor Mondor, 325th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron bioenvironmental engineering apprentice, (left) poses for a photo with his father, U.S. Navy Aviation Electricians Mate senior Chief Petty Officer Richard Fenters, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134, in front of an EA-18G Growler assigned to VAQ-134 on Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 16, 2021. Fenters and Mondor were reunited during one of Tyndall;s monthly Weapons System Evaluation Program exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Price)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

According to the Council of Foreign Relations, only one percent of the United States population are active duty Department of Defense personnel, making the military a small world. Airman 1st Class Trevor Mondor, 325th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron bioenvironmental engineering apprentice, recently got to see just how small of a world the military really is.

Mondor’s father, U.S. Navy Aviation Electrician’s Mate Senior Chief Petty Officer Richard Fenters with the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, arrived to Tyndall Air Force Base on Feb. 10, for a Weapons System Evaluation Program exercise.

Typically every month, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, located at Tyndall, hosts a WSEP where pilots and aircraft from all across the country and various branches of the military come to test and assess weapons systems during air-to-air combat scenarios. A plane can’t fly without a pilot and a pilot can’t fly without a crew. Maintainers, like Fenters, follow their aircraft to each exercise in case any maintenance is required during these exercises.

Despite his father being in the Navy, Mondor explained that he was highly encouraged to pursue the Air Force. Now 2,700 miles apart, their careers with separate branches are colliding.

“I have always been very proud and honored that he chose to serve in the world’s greatest military,” said Fenters.

Mondor joined the Air Force just over a year ago on Feb. 11, 2020. Despite being separated from his family, Mondor said he’s used to the process of moving around and meeting new people.

“As far as not seeing my family, it’s hard but we keep in touch and try to see each other as often as possible,” said Mondor.

Over the course of the next two weeks, Mondor will get to learn about what his father does as a Navy maintainer, and likewise his father will get a closer look into the Air Force’s bioenvironmental engineering flight.

Mondor also plans on taking his father out to enjoy everything the sunshine state has to offer, before Fenters return to the Pacific Northwest.

This multi-branch duo can now add a WSEP family reunion to a list of unforgettable memories.