NAS Meridian is known for graduating pilots out into the world all the time. As always, parents travel from all over the country to see their sons and daughters graduate and to pin on their wings of gold. Today however, one set of parents got to pin both of their sons.
“Most of the program we’ve been doing the same exact flights at the same exact times. So, we’re always studying together, so, when we get the results of our grades we’ll say, ‘hey, how are we doing in primary or how did we do on certain blocks of flights.’ We’d always compare and then you’re always giving each other crap for doing worse or doing better. And then if somebody didn’t do well we would always be supportive and help them out with the next thing.” -1stLT Andy Occhipinti
Identical twin brothers Andy and Matteo Occhipinti went through training together and are now heading in separate directions to continue their aviation careers.
“In intermediate we kind of struggled a little bit and we had a few setbacks, and nobody wants setbacks. But thanks to our command and the leadership they offer to us, we really persevered through that. Andy just got top stick which is a testament to our command and us coming together, putting together a game plan, and then executing that game plan and excelling. I think I learned so much more from having stumbled than excelling, and that’s fantastic for us and that’s been the journey here.” -CAPT Matteo Occhipinti
They are originally from Italy and came to the U.S. when they were 6 years old. They have always been inseparable.
“Just from when we were young I know in wrestling, we used to wrestle in high school, I used to always beat him. We always struggled to be the number one guy, so that’s kind of played out here. The great thing also is that we’re really great study partners. Not only are we competing with each other, but we’re always pushing each other harder, so it’s been really a blessing to have my brother here.” -CAPT Matteo Occhipinti