Local couple ‘ties knot’ with Air Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Leticia Hopkins
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Many people meet their soul-mates at school or work, but one couple not only attended the same college but also majored in the same degree program, and took on an extra commitment together by commissioning to do the same job for the Air Force. 

Second lieutenants Joseph Wallace Jr., and Sara Wallace were commissioned during a ceremony at the 23rd Medical Group Oct. 20 to become part of the high-demand nursing career field. 

"It's unique to get a married couple that are both nurses and both want to join the Air Force," said Master Sgt. Rick Madison, 336th Recruiting Squadron health professions recruiter. "I have couples come in who may both be nurses but only one may want to join or be qualified." 

By having them both join, the Air Forces gains two assets, said Sergeant Madison.
Joining the Air Force wasn't something only one wanted to do and not the other. 

"We don't have any kids right now and with everything that's going on in the world it seems like the right thing to do," said Joseph. "We both wanted to serve and try to do our part. The benefits are good and the pay is good." 

His wife agreed with his reasoning for joining the Air Force. 

"We both wanted to join," said Sara. "It's a big decision. (We were) both nervous about making it, but both wanted to do it." 

In January 2006, they began the process to get their commission. 

"(I'm hoping to gain a) sense of service, to say that we ... served our country," Joseph said. 

The Wallaces leave for Commissioned Officer Training Jan. 16 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. After completing the five-and-half-week course, the couple will travel to Keesler AFB, Miss., to begin their one year nurse transition program. Keesler will also serve as their first duty station. 

COT is a basic training course for officers in health professions, said Sergeant Madison. They are taught how to be officers through courses like leadership. Officers who are not coming in as a medical professional go through Basic Officer Training. 

The Fitzgerald, Ga., natives were set-up by Sara's aunt and began dating. In August 2002, the couple both left their hometown to attend Valdosta State University and major in nursing. The Wallaces later married in June 2004. 

Joseph was a semester ahead of his wife and graduated with his bachelor's degree in nursing, December 2005. Sara followed suit, graduating the next semester, in May 2006.
The couple decided they wanted to serve their country and use their talents to help those who are on the frontlines. "I'm looking forward to taking care of soldiers - the people who fight and die for our country," said Mrs. Wallace. "(I want to) talk to them and find out what they've been doing," she added. 

They both chose to take the medical/surgical track option for nurses in order to coincide with their future career goals. 

Joseph said he would like to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. While Sara said she would like to also become a CRNA, she is also considering becoming a nurse practitioner. 

The couple is also aware that due to the tempo of today's Air Force, deploying will be a constant issue. They said the biggest challenge for them in that area will be the separation from each other.
"I'm not nervous about deploying anywhere; just being separated for that length of time (will be hard)," said Joseph. "But we knew that when we first started talking to people and talking to recruiters. We knew that (we'll most likely deploy) going in." 

Even with the deployments and the possibility of separation, the Wallaces said they are looking forward to serving their country. 

Both agreed even though they want a family they both still want to continue to have a military tie. They are both planning to serve longer than their three year commitment. 

"We want a family too, and that's always a factor," said Sara. "We're going to get deployed. (So,) I would probably go (into the Air Force) Reserves as a nurse if we have children. We always want to have some kind of tie (to the Air Force)." 

Currently Sara works at an emergency room in a local hospital and Joseph works in an operating room at a hospital in Tifton, Ga. 

"I think they'll bring many years of service to the Air Force," said Sergeant Madison. "I believe they'll both have long, full careers. Sara and Michael have a lot to offer the Air Force because they are young, enthusiastic, well-trained and striving for the same goals."