JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Due to safety precautions established in response to COVID-19 family members have not been able attend the graduation of their loved one from Basic Military Training for a number of weeks. That didn’t stop one couple from seeing each other at their BMT graduation, March 26.
How did they do it, you may ask? The reunion of husband and wife at graduation was possible because these graduated as American Airmen together. After completing one year of college, Austin Matthew Howard and Amanda Elizabeth Howard took the oath in their recruiting office, shipped to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and enlisted into the world’s greatest Air Force together all the while.
“It just didn’t click, college wasn’t what the both of us expected it to be,” said Airman Amanda Howard. “We both decided that the Air Force was the way to go and that we wanted to go together.”
Both Airmen were separated in different squadrons but remained in the same week of training for 8.5 weeks in the training pipeline. Airman Amanda Howard graduated from the 331st Training Squadron, while Airman Austin Howard graduated from the 326th TRS.
Following their graduation ceremony, the couple reunited and reminisced about their experiences in Basic Training.
“Was it easy, no… was it worth it, yes,” said Airman Austin Howard. “My favorite part was attending Sunday service. It was really relaxing to not have MTI’s around and to be able to get some time for yourself.” The couple laughed.
Airman Austin Howard also mentioned the camaraderie within BMT especially when he and his flight were notified of the changes to BMT graduation not allowing in-person public attendance due to COVID-19. He stated that while they were disappointed and upset to not have their families able to come, being able to participate in graduation was what really mattered for him, his wife and his wingman.
Airman Amanda Howard shared similar experiences with Airman Austin Howard. While her flight was also distraught over the news of COVID, having a graduation and finally becoming Airmen was what they looked forward to the most.
Airman Amanda Howard will attend technical training at the 343rd Training Squadron at JBSA-Lackland to become a Security Force's Defender, while Airman Austin Howard will attend his technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
Both Airmen were extremely proud of one another and couldn’t have been more excited to reunite, especially since they got married right before boot camp. They both know that they overcome to complete BMT and with pride in their hearts and seen in their smiles, the couple walked away eager to start their lives together and their careers in the U.S. Air Force.