Love is in the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Wendy Day
  • 452 Air Mobility Wing

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- Love knows no boundaries, not even within the structured confines of the Air Force. Such is the tale of Captains Naomi Alston and Terrance Williams, two MQ-9 pilots turned instructors stationed at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., in the 492nd Attack Squadron, whose journey from the hallowed halls of the Air Force Academy to the altar is nothing short of serendipitous.

Their story begins at the prestigious Air Force Academy, where Capt. Alston, a member of the class of 2016, and Capt. Williams, of the subsequent 2017 graduating class, pursued their dreams of serving their country from the skies. Despite their close proximity and overlapping social circles, they remained oblivious to each other's existence.

"It's funny how life works sometimes," remarked Capt. Alston, reflecting on their missed connections. "We were practically dancing around each other for years without even realizing it."

Their trajectories converged again at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, where they were assigned both as MQ-9 pilots but in different units. Despite mutual acquaintances and shared friends, their meeting remained deferred until a chance encounter in 2021 at a gathering on Freemont St in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"We just clicked instantly," Capt. Williams recalled with a smile. "It was like finding that missing puzzle piece you didn't even know was missing."

Their romance blossomed Despite only going on two dates before Capt. Alston deployed for a five-month assignment. During the deployment, with a significant 10-hour time zone difference and the demands of shift work, the couple relied heavily on Facetime calls to stay connected and to continue to get to know one another despite the physical distance. Their emotional intimacy fostered during these conversations allowing them to share aspects of their lives that they might not have had the opportunity to explore in person. As they navigated the hurdles of scheduling calls around work commitments and time zone disparities, they discovered shared interests, values, and dreams for the future.

"You know when you know," Capt. Alston remarked, echoing the sentiments of many in long-distance relationships. "Those months apart made us realize just how much we meant to each other."

Now, as they prepare to embark on a new chapter together, Captains Alston and Williams find themselves not only partners in love but also colleagues in the cockpit. Contrary to popular belief, they view working together as an opportunity rather than a challenge.

"Having each other as colleagues is just another way for us to support and push each other," Capt. Williams explained. "We both push each other in ways that you wouldn't even know to help if we weren't side by side every day. It's like having a built-in support system, both on and off duty."

Their love story reached a new milestone when Capt. Williams orchestrated a memorable proposal during a day trip to Dana Point, California. The couple and their close friends embarked on a whale-watching tour, basking in the beauty of the ocean and the company of beloved companions. Before the trip concluded on their way back to the harbor, Capt. Williams seized the perfect moment, surrounded by the serene expanse of the sea and the warmth of friendship, to pop the question to Capt. Alston. With excitement, she said yes, marking another milestone in their extraordinary love story.

Capt. Alston's family history intertwines seamlessly with her military journey. Her grandfather, an Army Colonel who served for 30 years, met his wife during his time in service at a similar gathering. They have been happily married for over 60 years, setting a precedent for enduring love born amidst military camaraderie.

This Valentine's Day, the couple will embark on a journey to celebrate Capt. Alston's grandmother's birthday, a testament to the intertwining of their lives with their families' legacies. In a touching homage to her grandmother's enduring love, Capt. Alston plans to wear her hand-made lace wedding dress from the 1961 for their October wedding, fitting into it perfectly.

"It's like history repeating itself," Capt. Alston mused, tracing the parallels between her own romance and that of her grandparents.

Through their experience, the couple not only strengthened their relationship but also gained a newfound appreciation for the importance of communication and understanding in sustaining connections across distance. This shared journey of discovery and growth adds another layer of sweetness to their story, demonstrating the power of love and resilience even in the face of challenges. Plans for an October wedding are underway, marking a celebration of love amidst their shared devotion to duty.