Medical match-up: Flight nurses tie knot aboard C-17
By 1st Lt. Rashard Coaxum
/ Published August 02, 2018
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- It’s not often you propose to the love of your life on the job. It’s even less likely that it happens on a mission in Alaska. Even less likely than that is tying the knot on a C-17 Globemaster III.
But this is just what happened for two 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurses.
Capts. Derek and Amanda Martindale married aboard a static C-17 at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., May 19, in a small ceremony on the flightline, presided over by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Craig Abee.
Joined by family and friends, the two read their vows and wed, capping a friendship almost four years in the making.
“We didn’t even notice anyone around us as we stood before Chaplain Abee and recited our vows,” Amanda said. “Seeing the smiles on our family’s and friends’ faces afterwards warmed our hearts and confirmed the support we felt.”
Derek said that the two met at Joint Base Charleston and immediately became friends and then best friends. After more and more time spent together over a year and a half, the two began officially dating in September 2016.
While on a mission to Alaska, Derek chartered a plane to the mountains where he proposed to Amanda at Denali, the highest mountain peak in America.
There, he’d ask her the words he’d been waiting so patiently to tell her as they ascended to the mountain top.
“I said ‘Amanda Jean, will you marry me?’. Perhaps she was delirious from the extreme cold when saying yes,” he said. “In all seriousness, we both feel like we married our best friend. What a wonderful foundation to build a marriage upon.
“I feel super lucky just to have met Amanda, let alone marry her,” he said. “Between Amanda and I, we have four wonderful children, and enough pets to fill a small zoo. Amanda is the most caring and compassionate person I know.”
Also, in attendance were many squadron members who came out in support of the new union.
“The squadron was very supportive and excited for us,” Derek said. “In fact, once we started dating, Master Sgt. Mary Troja said ‘at least the two of you are on the same page as everyone else now,’. Apparently, our squadron knew where our relationship was going before we did.”
The Martindales said that having family, friends and squadron members in attendance was a blessing and that it’s a moment in life they’ll never forget.
“To finally have it all come together, where we had clearance to have our families join us and our squadron available to celebrate our union on the aircraft that has serviced so many of our friends and service members, was beyond an honor,” Derek said. “We were overwhelmed by support and love for our country.”
(Coaxum is assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.)