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Proud Tiger Wife Presents... United States Air Force Commissioning

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Proud Tiger Wife Presents... United States Air Force Commissioning

Ever since I've known Will (over six years now - weird!), he's always had a lot of admiration for people serving in the military. If Top Gun or A Few Good Men is showing on TNT or USA, hold on to those afternoon plans, because we're not moving until the final scene airs. (At first I thought it was just a Tom Cruise thing, but now I know better. No, wait, it is kind of a Tom Cruise thing.)

Will and I spent a year apart while I finished my senior year of college and he moved back home to Daytona Beach. We met in the middle a few times in Savannah, and he would always point out the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum from the highway and talk about his grandfather, who he happens to be named after. His grandfather flew B17 bombers in World War II, retiring as a Captain. He was a proud Air Force man. Will would always talk about how he would don his Mighty Eighth cap wherever he went until the day he died.

But the opportunity to serve really never came up for Will. After high school, Will was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship playing college baseball. There, he happened to meet his super hot future wife. And you know how I talked him into law school, not commissioned officer training. 

During Will's 1L year (and my 2L year, obviously), Will mentioned JAG to me for the first time. The tables had turned! We both ended up attending a seminar held at the law school with a panel of JAGs from across all branches to see what it was all about. (Okay, I really just went for the free lunch, but Will was really into it. I promise.) 

That summer, I worked at the Department of Justice in D.C. with a lot of former JAGs. As part of that internship, we went to an Air Force disciplinary hearing and toured Andrews Air Force Base. At that point I was like, okay, let's do this. I ended up applying to the Direct Appointment Program the fall of my 3L year and Will applied to the One Year College Program shortly thereafter (his 2L fall). 

We were galavanting through Ireland that October when I checked my voicemail and it was the JAG I interviewed with. I thought there must have been a problem with my application materials (the application process is super lengthy) so I called back right away. She informed me that I was selected! We drank Budweisers in Dublin that night, because, AMERICA! The following spring, Will was in New York City for a moot court competition and got the call on the New York subway that he had been selected! I happened to be in a meeting at the time when he called with the news. I was wearing an Air Force t-shirt and started crying and sweating profusely. Not embarrassing. We were going to be JAGs together! Except not. Every JAG selection is contingent on being medically cleared and passing the bar exam. I submitted my medical records and got rejected. C'est la vie. 

But you know who wasn't rejected? And who went on to complete ALL the requirements of ROTC in a year and a half. (You may not know what those are—I barely do—but suffice it to say: it's crazy.) And so, the day after law school graduation, Will commissioned as an officer in the World's Greatest Air Force.

The venue for the ceremony at Homestead Air Reserve Base was spectacular. Don't trust me, see for yourself. ("Look, look with your special eyes!")

Just the largest American flag you have ever seen and your average everyday F-16.

Just behind the hangar (outside that door to the hangar in the first photograph above) were more F-16s. Lots of F-16s.

The eight men commissioning sat on-stage. (By the way, the cadet MCing did a great job!) At the start of the ceremony, my dad asked "WHAT! WHERE THE HECK IS THE AMERICAN FLAG??" We were all like, "Huh? There's one right there....?" (????)

Yeah, he got us all. 

Will was the third cadet called. His detachment Captain gave him the Oath of Office.

Then Will's parents and I were called up to pin on his Second Lieutenant ranks. My moment of truth.

Nailed it.

Self-proclaimed record-holder for fastest pinning-on ever. I am smiling at my dad in the photo below because he was teasing me about messing up before I went up there. Typical Billy Nolan.

For inquiring minds, the dress is J.Crew Factory. It's still on sale!

Once we were escorted off-stage, Will received his first salute from Sergeant Knox.

Then he had the opportunity to give a one minute speech. He talked about living up to his grandfather's example and thanked everyone for their support to get him to this point.

After all the officers were commissioned, the Detachment's Lieutenant-Colonel gave each 2Lt two coins: one for the detachment and the other for becoming an airman. 

And, of course, a salute was given by each in response. 

I love this photo because I know Will is on the verge of laughing right here. He held it together. 

Afterwards, there were lots of photo ops.

With my parents.

With some lovely law school friends!

With his godson, Ethan.

Will's mom and my mom. Happy Mother's Day!

With his dad, Ned.
And finally, a closeup of Ned's tie, an homage to Will's grandfather.


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At May 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM , Blogger Kallah Oakes said...

So awesome! Will looks intense and very legit. :)

And I think in the stage pic with your profile - (right after you pinned him) - has something Kate Middletonish about it. No sucking up. It really does. ;)

Congratulations to both of y'all!!


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