By Senior Airman Alexis Suarez, 927th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published March 27, 2019
1st Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, 63rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, right, salutes Capt. Cory Williams, 317th Airlift Squadron pilot, left, after graduation Dec. 2018. This is the first salute that happened between the two brothers. (Courtesy photo)
Capt. Cory Williams, 317th Airlift Squadron pilot, right, pins wings on 1st Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, 63rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot. Both pilots recently completed a refueling mission, Capt. Williams flying a C-17 Globemaster III and 1st LT. Williams flying a KC-135 Stratotanker. (Courtesy photo)
1st Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, 63rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot adjusts and checks flight settings on a KC-135 Stratotanker over MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, March 15, 2019. Williams does this in preparation of the refueling mission with Capt. Williams who is flying a C-17 Globemaster III. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Suarez)
Capt. Cory Williams, 317th Airlift Squadron pilot, left, and 1st Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, 63rd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, right, stand in front of a C-17 Globemaster III at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, March 15, 2019. After completion of their refueling mission both pilots land at MacDill Air Force base to continue their reunion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Suarez)
C-17 Globemaster III gets refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker over the Florida Keys, March 15, 2019. This refueling mission was done by the Williams brothers, Capt. Williams flying the C-17 and 1st Lt. Williams flying the KC-135. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Suarez)
The phrase “One Team, One Fight” is a morale booster in the Air Force where cohesion and camaraderie are the cultural norms. This motto came as second nature to the Williams brothers.
1st Lt. Richard “Beau” Williams, Reserve Citizen Airman assigned to the 927th Air Refueling Wing and Capt. Cory Williams, assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing, both wear the same uniform but have very different lives when speaking about their Air Force careers.
The two pilots recently embarked on a refueling mission together. Beau flying the KC-135 Stratotanker to refuel a C-17 Globemaster III flown by his brother over the coast of the Florida Keys.
The Williams brothers were heavily inspired by their father who was a B-52 Stratofortress and a B-47 Stratojet pilot in the Air Force for 10 years. Former Capt. Jim Williams, was not only their father, inspiration and mentor he was also the person to teach and guide them on their first solo flights.
Beau started flying as a civilian contractor overseas doing Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Flight operations.
Joining the Air Force has always been a dream for Beau, who completed his training December 2018. Between his father being in the Air Force, doing ISR overseas and then watching his brother graduate from the Air Force Academy, Beau wanted his shot before it was too late.
With all of his flight training done prior to joining the Air Force, Beau went back and forth about going active duty or joining the Air Force Reserve. With slight input from Cory, growing up in Sarasota, being married and having the opportunity to be part of the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base he knew the reserve was the right choice for him.
While Beau is part of the reserves unit here, his brother Cory chose a different path that led him the active duty component and land him at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
With a 14 month age difference Cory, the younger of the two, attended the Air Force Academy where he excelled in his courses and was top of his class in pilot training school which allowed him the opportunity to decide which type of aircraft he wanted to fly.
“I remember Cory calling and asking me which type of aircraft I think he should fly, we both love heavies so I suggested a C-17,” said Beau laughing. “I’m not sure if I was his influence on his choice or the base location.”
Rather than a sibling rivalry, these two encourage and support each other in their lives and careers.
Since Capt. Williams was already in the Air Force and completed flight training school, he now had the opportunity to mentor his big brother.
“Cory had a lot of knowledge and experience from when he went to pilot training, which was helpful for me as I made my journey through,” said Beau.
When it came to graduating pilot training school, Beau had Cory pin on his wings, now having the privilege to salute his younger brother.
These brothers have an abundance amount of motivation just from watching each other grow up and excel in their careers. The encouragement doesn’t stop between the two, they have their families to thank for all their support as well.
With a four hour flight time between the two brothers from Tampa to Charleston, South Carolina the two pilots meet in the air March 15, coming safely as close as two aircraft can to perform a refueling mission.