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Reserve couple retire in dual ceremony

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shen-Chia McHone
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When an Air Force Reserve couple who have the same job, the same rank, and same career field decide to retire at the same time, one could say it's a 'match made in heaven.'

Family members, friends and colleagues came to commemorate the retirement of Master Sgt. Robert Anderson, 445th Maintenance Operations Flight, and Master Sgt. Mary Anderson, 445th Maintenance Squadron,in a dual-retirement ceremony Sept. 10. Mary has served 27 years and Bob has served 28 years. They made the decision to retire together seven months ago.

"This was a unique opportunity for us, and I wouldn't have wanted to retire with anyone else," said Bob.

Bob says he and Mary have been inseparable ever since they started dating, but they were 'birds of a feather' even before then.

"We have both had a long relationship with the Air Force as jet mechanics, Air Reserve Technicians, going on temporary duty assignments, and working for long hours with one another all the time," said Bob. "Because the military brought us together, it felt fitting to retire together as well."

Bob and Mary became friends in 1994 while working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but it took nine years for this couple to finally start dating, and they decided to marry two years later. The love for their careers have brought them together - being in love with the C-5 Galaxy and falling in love for one another.

"Mary has been my inspiration throughout the years. When I felt like giving up, she was right there beside me, pushing me to better myself," said Bob. "I was able to finish my enlisted professional military education because of her."

As a spouse and co-worker, the couple feels they complement one another, helping the other to strive for success on the job and at home.

"Bob is part of the maintenance recovery team, travelling wherever he is needed to fix aircraft. He was gone for 265 days during a TDY while we were planning the wedding, so it was difficult, but thank goodness for our families who helped plan it," said Mary.

During TDYs, each spouse serves as the role of a parent to six children. Although it may be a bit tough, the Andersons learn to bond with their step-sons and step-daughters during the sports events and school activities.

"I feel like we were the Brady bunch. We both had three kids each after the marriage," said Bob. "I think the military issued me the perfect wife because we understand one another - having the same job. The military was our way of life when married the Air Force first, and then we married each other.

"I want to thank her for her help through the difficulties and last minute changes to work late or travel TDY," he said.
"This marriage has totally changed my life. Military marriages can grow apart, but we seem to grow closer day by day," said Bob.

Bob says he will miss the military life, but for now he and Mary look forward to transitioning to civilian life and spending more time with their grandchildren.