The Wilder Life: Alumni Twins David and Joseph Wilder Are Flying High in the U.S. Air Force

This article is one of a series that examines the ROTC experience at Westminster College.

David, ’22 IND, and Joseph Wilder, ’22 IND, are identical twins from Jefferson City, Missouri, who were Westminster roommates, Blue Jays soccer teammates, and Air Force ROTC members while students at the College.

Today, both are in active duty Air Force, but in different parts of the country, and both appreciate their specific choice of a small college that supported their unique, specific interests.

The Wilders say they knew Westminster was the right choice for them during their campus tour, which they describe as phenomenal.

“Westminster was close to home, we got the opportunity to play soccer at the collegiate level, and we were able to also join Air Force ROTC at Mizzou,” explains David, who is a Missile Combat Crew Commander at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

All four years, David and Joseph worked closely with Westminster faculty members, the University of Missouri’s Air Force cadre in Columbia, and the College’s soccer coach to ensure their schedules aligned perfectly with their goals.

To do so, their classes were usually scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while Tuesdays and Thursdays were reserved for travel to Columbia for Air Force classes and workouts. Together, Westminster advisors and MU’s Air Force program allowed the twins to drop their Air Force workouts during soccer seasons because of their regular team workouts.

Schedule juggling became a little trickier, however, for the Wilders as upper-class students.

“As you progress in the program, your time commitments increase dramatically, and junior and senior year, we were both in positions helping lead the cadet wing, so we were driving to Mizzou three or four times per week,” David says, adding that some semesters he took up to 20 hours of courses and supplemented busier semesters with summer and winter classes.

Their focus paid off, and before they knew it, the twins were commissioned into the U.S. Air Force and found themselves at Westminster’s commencement exercises. David proudly received his degree in physics, while Joseph earned his degree in mathematical sciences.

Now in Combat Systems Officer Training at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, Joseph is enjoying spending time fishing and playing golf when time permits. And like his brother, he anticipates at least six years of active duty following specialized training.

Joseph adds that he and David have completely adjusted to living apart for the first time since they were born. And both are happy reflecting on their time at Westminster College, where they shared everything ― including the same classes, which they appreciated for more than just sibling camaraderie.

“In bigger schools, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of students in a single lecture hall. Having smaller classes allowed us to have more face-to-face interaction with our professors,” Joseph emphasizes. “It felt that we got more out of our academic experience that way.”

David says he and Joseph still managed to have balance in their lives despite their challenging coursework and tight schedule. “We definitely spent a lot of our free time staying on top of everything, but we always made sure to save some time for normal college life.” Chuckling, he adds, “I’ll just leave it at that.”

For more information on the various ROTC opportunities offered at Westminster, please contact

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.