By Robb Lingley
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — According to the Air Force Personnel Center there are more than 27,000 active-duty Airmen, just under 10 percent of the active-duty Air Force, married to another active- duty Airman, and about 1,500 active-duty Airmen married to an active-duty member of another military service.
At Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, there are numerous mil-to-mil married couples assigned here.
Tech. Sgt. Jessica Styles, Air Force Space Command enlisted aide to the commander, met her husband, Senior Master Sgt. Jay Styles at Travis Air Force Base, California. They’ve been married now for almost 13 years.
“I was walking out to my car at Travis AFB, from my office building, and there was a security forces Airman trying to look for the VIN on my brand new car because I didn’t have plates yet,” said Jessica. “I asked if I could help him and he said he was responding to a call about a car being parked illegally.”
A frustrated Jessica responded, “Do I look like I’m parked illegally?” Jay said no and asked if they had a mutual friend. It was then that Jessica remembered her friend talking about Jay.
“Why didn’t she introduce me to this guy, he’s cute,” said Jessica. “I didn’t let him know I thought he was cute, I just asked him if he needed anything else from me and he said he didn’t, then we both went our separate ways.”
As soon as she was able to, Jessica called their mutual friend to let her know what had just happened and to give her grief about not introducing her to Jay.
Her friend thought it was funny Jessica was calling because Jay was sitting in her office asking her the same questions. So from that day on, Jessica and Jay communicated regularly over the phone and had their first date at a local Mongolian barbecue restaurant. They hit it off immediately, Jessica said, and the rest is history.
Since being married, outside of deployments, Jessica and Jay have shared duty assignments. They joined the Air Force’s Join Spouse Program, which is designed to make every possible effort to assign both spouses to the same base.
The Styles have a blended family with two 15-year-olds, Monique and Aric, and an 11-year-old, Aiden. The older they get the more helpful they are around the house when Jay is on deployment, Jessica said.
“Deployments really help to put things into perspective,” said Jessica. “You don’t realize how much you take someone for granted until they aren’t there to unclog the drain, fix the fence in the backyard after the wind blows it down, or sit down to watch your favorite show together.”
“We do our best to stay in close contact with Jay when he’s gone,” said Jessica. “We text, chat over the phone, and we do video calls when the signal is strong enough on his end.”
The assignment program helps assign military couples together, when possible, to a location where they can live in the same residence. The needs of the Air Force mission come first in base assignment. If your spouse is also an Airman, assignment to the same base is not guaranteed.
“The Air Force has had a positive effect on our marriage,” Jessica said. “Being married under normal circumstances can get tough at times but being married in the military requires a consistent effort being put forth by both members to keep the marriage healthy and happy.”
“We’ve learned that in order to make it through this crazy life together we have to be willing to put in the work and not give up on each other,” Jessica said. “Marriage is work, hard work. The two people in the marriage have to go into the marriage knowing they are going to do whatever it takes to not give up on it, even though it’s tough at times we don’t give up.”