HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – In June 2005, two Air Force ROTC graduates began their active duty careers following a commissioning ceremony at Manhattan College.
A decade and a half later, identical twins Joe and Paul Dolce came together virtually to celebrate another important milestone, promotion to lieutenant colonel.
“It was absolutely crazy to get promoted to lieutenant colonel at the same time,” said Joseph Dolce, program manager for Cloud One with the Enterprise IT & Cyberspace Infrastructure Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, headquartered here.
“Getting to commission at the same time was so cool,” said Paul Dolce, commander, Detachment 1, 586 Flight Test Squadron at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. “Joe was able to read me my oath because he was first.”
Given their identical appearance, and the fact they are both officers in the Air Force, the twins are constantly being compared, despite different career paths.
“There are a lot of similarities between us, but when we commissioned our careers went in two different directions,” said Paul. “Being a test pilot school graduate, I’ve had the chance to fly, to test the latest and greatest. Joe has been on the program manager side for most of his career. So that’s what I’d say is the big difference between us.”
“We definitely have similar personalities,” said Joe. “And people get us confused all the time. I could be walking through an airport and someone will yell ‘Hey, what’s up Sauce!’ which is Paul’s call sign. And I’ll respond with something like ‘You don’t know me! But I am his brother.’ And it’s vice versa with him.”
A joint promotion ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in New York in March 2020, but was moved to virtual settings due to COVID-19.
The promotion was just one of several shared experiences the brothers have enjoyed together during their careers. Their first assignments were at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. Later on, they got to reunite at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
“At Eglin, Joe lived down the street from me, within walking distance, said Paul. “It was very much like when we grew up in the Bronx. Having the whole family together in the same neighborhood, all the cousins going to school together, it was a really good time.”
“It was awesome, especially for our kids,” said Joe. “I’m going to figure out how to get close to my brother again. If there is any chance that we can get together again when our Air Force careers are over it would be fantastic. We’ll see what happens.”
Paul is set to assume command of the 846th Test Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 846th operates the Holloman High Speed Test Track, which provides the Department of Defense a controlled and cost-efficient environment for high speed testing.
Joe will soon be taking over as the materiel leader and branch chief of the AFNet Ops & Sustainment Branch of the Enterprise IT and Cyberspace Division, located here.
Despite being stationed more than 2,000 miles apart, the brothers are as close as ever.
“We talk all the time,” said Paul. “We’re friends. We’re always talking to each other, helping each other. Growing up together, living together, it really built a different, closer kind of bond than other siblings might have.”
Fifteen years of Air Force service has rewarded the brothers with a number of memorable experiences.
“Everything worked out for the best,” said Paul. “When I commissioned I had no intention of staying past four years. I’ve found what has motivated me and has continued to motivate me, even now. Every time I came to a decision point, ‘Do I stay or do I leave?’ I was always motivated by something within the Air Force to keep me going.”
“I love the Air Force,” said Joe. “It’s given me a lot of wonderful opportunities over the years. Just getting to this point, to being a lieutenant colonel, it’s a big deal for me.”