Dover AFB airmen wed in cargo hold in a C-17

By Roland Balik

436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE — On a brisk winter day on the flight line, two Airmen from the 436th Maintenance Group exchanged marriage vows in the cargo compartment of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

Airman 1st Class Michelle Speer, 436th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation journeyman, from Bryan, Texas, married Airman 1st Class Joshua Brewer, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems journeyman, from Jackson, Tennessee, in front of family members and more than 20 of their Wingmen on Jan. 29.

Airman Speer and Airman Brewer met in a logistics resource management class. They went on their first date the day after Valentine’s Day and became engaged in December.

After the vows were complete, Airman Brewer
replaced his wife’s name tag with one bearing his last name.

Airman Speer’s supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Joseph Rice, 436th APS ramp operations supervisor, performed the ceremony, which was the second wedding he had performed in his 10 years of ordination.

“She told me she was getting married and didn’t have a set time or date,” said Rice. “I threw out some ideas of possible venues and then suggested getting married on a plane while working one night.”

Airman Speer asked Airman Brewer, and they both liked the idea and set the wheels in motion to make it happen.

“I think this is the first time an Airman has performed a wedding for his troop that I know of,’ said Tech Sgt. Rice. “I think it is going to be something memorable, probably a first at Dover AFB.”

With the cargo doors open and a 60K aircraft cargo loader at the edge of the ramp, the bride was escorted off the K-Loader by her father as they proceeded to her waiting husband-to-be.

After vows were exchanged, Tech Sgt. Rice said: “Then, it is by the powers vested in me through the Internet that I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride.”

To make it official, the groom peeled off the nametape on her fleece and replaced it with one showing her new last name, “Brewer.” Attendees applauded loudly.

“This was my first time witnessing a marriage ceremony on a C-17 for two of my Airmen,” said Col. Christopher May, 436th MXG commander. “It was super cool to have them do this in front of their peers, squadron-mates, and I’m really excited for them.”

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