JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
When a thirty-something couple chose service as their professions, both took their college degrees and fur baby to a military recruiter. Airmen 1st Class Michael and Farwy Canody, both college graduates, enlisted in the Air Force, enrolled their dog in foster care near home, and shipped to Air Force Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
It was her dream.
“I wanted to join the Air Force because it is one of my dream careers,” said Farwy after she graduated from BMT Oct. 20, 2022. “I always want to make a difference and help people.”
Farwy had become a U.S. citizen in 2018 after she married Michael while he was living and working as a teacher in Thailand. She missed attending her college graduation ceremony there when they returned to the U.S., but she was eager for a life with a higher purpose in her new country. “I want to be able to support my family here in America and Thailand,” Farwy said.
Her chance came when a different door closed for Michael in Arlington, Virginia, where they were living in 2021. His disappointment was short-lived. He was pragmatic and ready to keep his word with his wife.
“I had promised Farwy that if my plans to work in law enforcement didn’t work out, that we would consider joining the Air Force,” Michael said. The Air Force lifestyle wasn’t unfamiliar to him. He had grown up as a military member’s child, enjoying benefits like world travel. He welcomed the chance to make his wife’s dream come true and "OK" about not being a prison guard. “I’m not a very big guy,” he said, lightheartedly.
So, in the fall of 2021, the Canodys scheduled a meeting with a recruiter. He said that she liked how the Air Force is involved in humanitarian missions. “Her eyes sparkled, listening to the recruiter,” Michael said.
When summer came, they took Tipsie, their 10-year-old Chiweenie, and moved to Nebraska where Michael had family. Their dreams of becoming Airmen never waned.
“Michael called my office, on a late afternoon in early June, looking for answers to a few questions that he had,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Schouten, an enlisted accessions recruiter, in Bellevue, Nebraska, for the 343rd Recruiting Squadron. “He also mentioned that Farwy was in the process of enlisting as well. I was shocked! I've never heard of a husband and wife joining at the same time. As he told the whole story, I gradually felt more and more inspired to help them reach their goal of joining.”
Schouten’s respect for the Canodys continued to grow.
“They faced a few challenges in the process, but they never lost hope. It was heartwarming to see them both encouraging each other every step of the way,” Schouten said. “No matter what the news was, good or bad, the response to me was always, ‘Yes, sir. We'll do whatever you need us to’. They were an absolute joy to work with.”
Farwy was happy with the way their recruiter helped the family.
“Tech. Sgt. Schouten is very professional, considerate and very helpful in many ways,” Farwy said. “He was able to help me get into the Air Force within about one month. It’s incredible. He is the best!”
Farwy shipped to BMT at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Aug. 29, 2022. Michael followed her seven days later. That meant the couple wouldn’t be in the same squadron during their 7 1/2 weeks of basic military training.
Things changed when Farwy graduated. Michael attended the ceremony which formalized her status as an Airman thanks to his instructors.
“Seeing her graduate was the most incredible feeling,” said Michael, looking back on their experience. He said his instructors had to deconflict schedules and reorganized his unit so that he could complete the mandatory weeklong Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills and Training that is BMT’s capstone training event.
One family member was absent from all the happenings though. Tipsie was waiting for Farwy and Michael in Nebraska.
“I miss my fur baby very much,” Farwy said. “I was worried about how we would take care of her. Luckily, we found Miss Meredith on the Dogs on Deployment website.” Meredith Mingledorff, a foster parent with Dogs on Deployment and noncommissioned officer in the Air Force Reserve took care of Tipsie for the Canodys while they were away.
While Dogs on Deployment gave the Canodys peace of mind and canine playmates for Tipsie, Mingledorff enjoyed helping two extraordinary people become Airmen.
“They have given me a gift by allowing me this opportunity to make a positive difference in their lives,” Mingledorff said. “I think, as senior non-commissioned officers and leaders, that all we really want is to make a positive difference for others.”
The next phase of the Canodys’ Air Force training is technical school for their respective jobs. Farwy will work in administration and Michael will work with fuels.
“With a criminal justice degree, he could have chosen any number of careers, but he knew serving alongside his wife was the right choice for him and would give their family so much more than just a career," said Mingledorff.
After his own BMT graduation ceremony, Michael was eager for a reunion with Farwy and Tipsie before Christmas.
“I’m excited about starting my new career and I think it’s another great way to support the Air Force’s mission,” Michael said. “This has been an incredible experience and I do not regret it at all.”