Seeing Double: Identical twins take pride in serving their country and AEDC

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  • By 200864
The Medley brothers, Franklin County born and raised, are not the newest bluegrass/country duo to hit Nashville radio stations, but rather Shannon and Steve are two good ole country boys who work at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC).

They are also identical twins. Shannon, who says he's three minutes older, works in the Metallurgical and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Lab and Steve works at the X-Ray Lab.

Any time someone welds something at the base, the Medley brothers are there to make sure all the drawings, specifications, welding codes and welders are following proper procedure to make sure the object being welded will properly work in the test facilities or on the test articles themselves.

"Any type of welding activities that go on out here, we are usually involved in it in some form or fashion," Steve said.

They also work with numerous non-destructive testing methods which involve: performing x-ray, gamma radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, eddy current, leak testing and visual inspections. There are a number of methods used in NDT in order to not disturb the material being tested.

"The first thing you have to do in NDT is determine what type of material your working with and what type of discontinuities your looking for in order to decide which NDT method is best suited for that inspection," Shannon explained.

Prior to their jobs with Aerospace Testing Alliance, both men worked with General Physics for more than a decade on the Pressure and Hazardous Material Systems
Certification effort at AEDC.

After graduation from Franklin County High School, both of the men worked odd jobs in factories and knew they did want to do that for the rest of their life. Their stepdad was an Air Force colonel and encouraged them to join the Air Force.

"I worked for Stanley Tools, a manufacturing plant in Shelbyville and I saw and actually performed magnetic particle inspection while I was there. They used that method on their hammers and chisels looking for cracks" Shannon said. "I got interested in NDT and joined the Air Force because they were doing that kind of testing and I also wanted to learn other NDT methods as well."

Shannon was the first to join and liked it so much he encouraged Steve to join as well.

"We've always been aware of AEDC," Steve said. "I went into the Air Force with the understanding maybe some day with the proper training and education; I could come out here and work."

When asked what it is like being a twin, the brothers looked at each other with a grin and said, "It has its good and it has its bads."

"We get mistaken for one another all the time," Steve said.
Shannon added, "We never get called by our names it's just 'hey, which one are you.'"

The only time they can remember being apart was when they were in the Air Force and Shannon was stationed at Homestead AFB, Fla., and Steve was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Today, they live within a mile of each other.

They did admit that they have played a few jokes on teachers, friends and co-workers by switching places during different situations.

"We used to do that some in high school," Shannon admitted. "We would swap classes and the teachers would never know."

"A good thing about being a twin is you can always be someone else for awhile," Steve added.

The Medley brothers are both avid golfers and enjoy playing with family and friends.
"If its spring or summer and nothing's going on, I'm usually on the golf course" Shannon said.

They even have their whole family involved.

"We play league golf, tournaments and even couples which give our wives a chance to learn and enjoy the game as much as we do," Shannon added.

On a more serious note, even though the Medley brothers no longer wear the Air Force uniform, they still feel they are contributing to AEDC's mission and the security of our nation.

"I enjoy that aspect of it--still being able to help and do the testing," Steve explained. "I am able to be a part of something I can look back on later on."
Shannon echoed that thought.

"Even though we're not wearing the uniform and out on the flight lines, we are still providing a service to our country and helping with the Air Force mission," he said. "I take a lot of pride in that and enjoy being a part of Team AEDC."

Caption for 080424-F-6349D-003: Steve Medley is reviewing a radiograph that was taken on a pipe weld in the X-Ray Lab. (Photo by Janae' Daniels)

Caption for 080424-F-6349D-006: Shannon Medley is performing an ultrasonic thickness test on a piece of pipe, making sure the thickness is applicable for the service intended. (Photo by Janae' Daniels)