A few years ago, Erik Stevenson wanted to get his life together.
He decided to join the Navy.
When the time came to enlist, he didn’t do it alone. Because when it came to Erik, there was always someone else to join him in his adventures: his twin brother, Adam.
“Because we were twins, I pretty much had to go along with it,” said Adam Stevenson, who added that he’s usually the twin who leads, but in this case, they switched roles.
And more than two years later, he’s glad they did.
“I love it,” Adam Stevenson, 22, said. “I think it’s the best big decision I’ve ever made.”
The twins enlisted in January 2011, and now serve together as electronics technicians second class on the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier currently undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul in Newport News, Va. Their service will last six years and a majority of that time will be spent on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
While siblings serving on the same vessel is uncommon in the Navy, it’s not forbidden, which is a common misconception.
As long as a ship is not in a hostile fire area, immediate family members may request to serve together, signing a statement that reads, “I understand the potentially hazardous implication of family duty but desire this assignment,” according to Naval documents.
In fact, the Stevensons are just one of two sets of twins assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln.
For their mother, Natalie, it’s a comfort to know they’re together.
“I’m very proud of them,” she said. “I just tell everybody I know about my sons. They’re very driven.”
The twins grew up in Carol Stream and graduated from Glenbard North High School. After their parents’ divorce, they split their time between Glen Ellyn and Oak Park and took general education courses at College of DuPage.
Always a strong support system for each other, they’ve continued that same attitude since joining the Navy.
“The work we do is easier because we can help each other out,” Adam Stevenson said.
While others sometimes encourage competition between the brothers, Adam Stevenson said the two of them know it brings no benefit to either of them to feel that way about each other.
Both hope to obtain a college degree in computer science, electrical engineering or a similar field during their time with the Navy.
Currently, they don’t plan to extend their six years of service, but that could still change, Adam Stevenson said.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m just trying to make the best of it,” he said.