GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - A pair of twins and recent graduates from Gautier High School are choosing to take their next steps together into military service.
Aalyssa and Aaliyah are the McSwain twins.
“Everybody says they want a twin and I’m lucky to have one,” said Alyssa McSwain.
“I was born with a best friend, so I’m never alone and I always have someone to talk to,” said Aaliyah McSwain. “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,” said Pilkington.
From the time they were born, it’s been easy to mistake one for the other.
“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,” said Pilkington.
Since they’ve always been together, when it came time to plan for the future it shouldn’t be a surprise Aalyssa and Aaliyah decided to stick together in joining 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,” said Aalyssa. “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,” said Aaliyah.
Serving their country as a team won’t be the first time the McSwain twins have teamed up. They made for a tough combination on the basketball court playing for Gautier.
“The way they looked at each other, they knew what the other one was going to do before she knew it,” said Pilkington. “It was really nice watching them.”
Although it’s no guarantee Aalyssa and Aaliya 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,” said Pilkington. “I think it would be a benefit for them to work together.”
The calling to military service is natural for the twins. 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,” said Aalyssa.
“I love to help people, so that feeds into that a little bit,” Aaliyah. “It’s just letting me do what I love to do and I’m passionate about helping people.”
As Aalyssa and Aaliyah 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 McSwain twins both plan to work in medical fields.
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