Husband and Wife at OTS

  • Published
  • By Robert Dantzler
  • Air University Public Affairs

It’s not common to have two spouses going through military training at the same time, but Jeffrey and Melinda Benson are living out that experience at Air University’s Officer Training School.

The Benson’s were married on Halloween, October 31st, 2012. Both were serving on active duty at the time, but after numerous joint spouse application denials due to manning restrictions, Melinda retrained from being a crew chief to a sheet metal technician, Palace Chasing into the Reserves.

Around their eight-year wedding anniversary, she graduated from Drexel University with a nursing degree and began applying to commission and continue serving in the Air Force as an officer, which became a family conquest as Jeff followed suit.

Melinda and Jeff were accepted into the program and assigned to back-to-back classes, 24-07 and 24-08, respectively. As rare as it is for a couple to attend OTS simultaneously, it is even more rare for them to be in the same squadron. The program schedule is packed with classes and training, but they were able to see each other occasionally, whether it was marching by in formation or at religious services they attended.

“We’ve been able to support each other a lot through the training,” said Officer Trainee Jeffrey Benson. “It has been challenging for both of us not being able to be around, but whenever I have issues or I was upset about something, I could talk to her and she was able to do the same with me.”

They described their experiences and training within OTS as challenging but pointed to their time in the enlisted corps as points of leadership development that helped prepare them for the program.

“Jeff has a lot of leadership experience being a prior enlisted master sergeant with almost 17 years of service, so I think this just kind of tweaks his leadership style,” said 1st Lt. Melinda Benson. “He’s very good at leading Airmen.”

“I’m really excited for Mel to actually be able to go out and fly and deploy and kind of fly the line, and to get that experience as a new aircrew member,” OT Benson said about his wife. “She’s had to watch me do that for the past 16-17 years. I’m ready to hang that up and do something a little more stable.”

1st Lt. Melinda Benson will take on duties as a flight nurse in the Reserves after graduating from OTS on Friday, March 24th, and OT Jeffrey Benson is scheduled to graduate two weeks later into the field of acquisitions, with his first assignment being in New York.