Two-Airman family can be adventure

  • Published
  • By Major Rochelle Smith
  • 56th Contracting Squadron
"You're both in the military? When do you plan to get out?"
When I meet someone new, these are common questions I hear. As someone who has been in the military for 13 years and married to a fellow Airman for 12 of those 13 years of service, my marriage has been a big part of my military career. When I look at recent Air Force military demographics, I realize I'm in good company.

There are more than 27,000 or approximately 8 percent of, active-duty military members married to another active-duty member. While that's certainly not a majority of the Air Force, it is significant for me personally. It means I'm not alone in my experiences.

Are there challenges with being married to another military member? Of course. Getting stationed together, raising a family, deployments, trying to match career goals and timing, all of that can be challenging. For me, the challenges are worth any temporary pain and the opportunities are amazing. In the 12 years I've been married, I've met great people, had adventures around the globe and learned skills I never dreamed possible when I first joined.

To the Airman considering marrying a fellow Airman, or the supervisor of an Airman preparing for such a marriage, I do have a few recommendations that helped my husband and me decrease stress and enjoy the adventure.

First, perform well. We all have an important mission to do as Airmen. If I cannot do my job with excellence I don't belong in the service, married or not.

Second, do your homework. Before we put in for assignments we talk to people and use Air Force Personnel Center resources to make sure we know what's available and what the Air Force needs. We learned very early in our careers if we wanted to keep our family together it was not enough to identify our dream location or job on our Airman Development Plan. We needed to match our desires to Air Force needs, or in some cases adjust our expectations accordingly.

Third, cultivate mentors. More experienced Airmen helped us understand the process, put our personal desires in perspective with the Air Force mission and communicate clearly to our supervisors.

I love the Air Force, and I love my Airman spouse. Each day is a blessing to wake up and serve with him in the greatest Air Force in the world.