Not your typical wedding
By Roland Balik, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 08, 2019
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- On a brisk winter day on the flight line, two Airmen from the 436th Maintenance Group exchanged marriage vows in the cargo compartment of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft Jan. 29, 2019.
Airman 1st Class Michelle Speer, 436th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation journeyman, from Bryan, Texas, married Airman 1st Class Joshua Brewer, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems journeyman, from Jackson, Tennessee, in front of family members and over 20 of their Wingmen.
Speer and Brewer met in a logistics resource management class Jan. 29, 2018. They went on their first date the day after Valentine’s Day and became engaged in December.
Speer’s supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Joseph Rice, 436th APS ramp operations supervisor, performed the ceremony, which was the second wedding he had performed in his 10 years of ordination.
“She told me she was getting married and didn’t have a set time or date,” said Rice. “I threw out some ideas of possible venues and then suggested getting married on a plane while working one night.”
Speer asked Brewer, and they both liked the idea and set the wheels in motion to make it happen.
“I think this is the first time an Airman has performed a wedding for his troop that I know of,’ said Rice. “I think [it] is going to be something memorable, probably a first at Dover AFB.”
Dover AFB takes care of its Airmen and their families – and even enables them to make families of their own; it’s a special place to be chosen as the venue for Speer’s special day.
With the cargo doors open and a 60K aircraft cargo loader at the edge of the ramp, the bride, dressed in ABUs, was escorted off the K-Loader by her father as they proceeded to her waiting husband-to-be.
After vows were exchanged, Rice said: “Then, it is by the powers vested in me through the Internet that I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride.”
To make it official, the groom peeled off the nametape on her fleece and replaced it with one showing her new last name, “Brewer.” Attendees applauded loudly.
“It was amazing; once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Belinda Glisson, Brewer’s mother. “I’m happy for both of them.”
The bride’s parents, James and Jennifer Speer made the trip from Bryan, Texas, to witness their daughter’s wedding.
“It was very unique,” James commented.
“Yes… But it was Michelle,” Jennifer interjected. “I think it’s in her personality.”
After the ceremony, both of the newlyweds talked about all of the paperwork they will have to accomplish in the very near future, especially as a military couple.
“This was my first time witnessing a marriage ceremony on a C-17 for two of my Airmen,” said Col. Christopher May, 436th MXG commander. “It was super cool to have them do this in front of their peers, squadron-mates, and I’m really excited for them.”