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Derek, left, made the trip to Kandahar Air Force Base to join brother Sean this past summer. Sean is back in the states while Derek, who has two tours in Afghanistan, will soon go back to base in Germany.

Callicoon natives are career military brothers

By Robert Flynn
October 12, 2010 — Brothers Captain Derek Flynn and Technical Sergeant Sean Flynn recently got together at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.
Capt. Flynn was deployed to a base in the northern part of Afghanistan, but was able to make the trip down to meet up with his brother. He works in the Regional Air Operations Command Center and is responsible for supporting the ground troops and the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) with Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft such as F-15Es, F-16s, and B-1s.
TSgt Flynn works for the 46th ERQS (Expeditionary Rescue Squadron). His unit is responsible for Personnel Recovery and MEDEVAC missions in the southern part of Afghanistan.
The Flynn brothers are the sons of Robert and Lin Flynn, formerly of Callicoon, now residents of Sanford, NC.
A reluctant warrior
Derek is a June 1995 graduate of Delaware Valley Central School, and in October of that same year, though reluctant to do so (as he would be an old man when he could retire), he enlisted in the Air Force.
After completion of basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX and technical training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS, his first assignment was to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, OK. Here he worked onboard the E-3 Sentry (AWACS) which is used for airborne surveillance and command, control and communications.
“During this time his mother and I were doing the necessary paperwork needed to seek a nomination to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and with the help of our congressman, Maurice Hinchey, Derek was accepted to the Prep School in 1998 and following his year there he received an appointment to the Academy,” Robert said. “Ecstatic as any parent could be on hearing this great news, we were equally disappointed in learning that he declined this appointment and opted to go on an Air Force Scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL.”
When asked why he could make such a decision after all the work his parents had done to secure the Academy for him, Derek simply said, “The beach, Pa. Besides, I’ll get to the same place I want to go.”
Sure enough, in 2002 Derek was commissioned a Second Lieutenant with his degree in Aerospace Engineering. From there he went to Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX, for pilot training, from there to advanced training at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL. Here, he completed the training for becoming an F-15C pilot, which is the single crew model.
According to Bob, “Attending his graduation and seeing him receive his wings, brought back the memory of his first letter to us from basic training, when he wrote, ‘Pa, I’m not happy you talked me into this, it better get better!’”
Derek was then assigned to Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA, then to the 67th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
After three years there he went to Mannheim,Germany as an F-15C pilot and Air Liaison Officer. He is currently stationed to a base in Northern Afghanistan on his second combat deployment.
Following in his brother’s footsteps
Sean was a 1996 graduate of DVCS and joined the Air Force in the spring of 1997. Following basic training at Lackland AFB, went into intense training for Combat Controller, and after nearly a year of that, went on to SERE training, which stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA.
SERE is a very specialized group of airmen, consisting of only around 350 total. They are responsible for the training of aircrews in any and all conditions in this specialized knowledge – whether in friendly territory or hostile. “Return with Honor” is their motto.
Upon graduation from Fairchild, he was assigned to the 23rd Wing at Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA, from there he went to Minot AFB, ND and presently stationed with the 58th rescue squadron, at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV.
Sean has been assigned to rescue squadrons in addition to being a SERE specialist because of his additional training in medical, which in his six combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan saw him with Rescue Groups, flying usually on HH-60G Pave Hawks. Their motto is “So Others May Live” and their primary function is search and rescue.
This was brought to heart June 9 of this year when on a medical evacuation in southern Afghanistan, hostile fire brought down one of their Pave Hawks, killing four, including his Lieutenant, and injuring three more, one of whom later died. All were assigned to the 563rd, all were members of Sean’s team, which consists of 14 men.
“Indeed it was a very sad day,” said Bob.
Making it a tour worth remembering was when the boys got to see one another, and spend about a day and a half together.
Sean has since returned to the states and Derek will return to Germany within the next month.
The Flynn brothers are single, have never been married and have no children.
“Both Derek and Sean will be at our home in North Carolina during Thanksgiving,” said Bob. “Our daughter Jennifer lives nearby with her husband JD and two children, Faythe and Hunter. This will truly be a wonderful occasion.”

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