LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Joining the Air Force, commissioning, becoming a pilot, progressing to the rank of major — all of these things define the word "minority." Majs. Regina Wall and her husband, Jared Wall, have done all of the above.
Regina, the 86th Flying Training Squadron assistant director of operations, and Jared, the 47th Operations Group T-6A Texan II standardization and evaluation branch chief, have shared almost every duty station and three deployments since beginning their careers in 2005.
The Walls' story began in 2005 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where they first met during the Air and Space Basic Course. Upon completion of ASBC, they found themselves on their way to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, where they completed Initial Flight Training with a follow-on to Laughlin AFB.
After arriving to Laughlin AFB, the Walls officially began their pilot careers in the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training program.
"Not only did we both get assigned to class 07-04, but our assigned seats were right next to each other in the flight room," Regina said.
After the completion of the T-6 program, Jared continued at Laughlin AFB as a T-1 Jayhawk student and Regina moved to Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Texas, to fly the T-44A Pegasus. This was the couple's first experience with a long-distance relationship.
"It was a good test for our relationship," Regina said. "We both knew by being in the military we might have to spend some time apart, and it was something we needed to be prepared for."
But this long-distance relationship was only temporary. On Dec. 14, 2006, toward the end of pilot training, Jared proposed to Regina. Two days later, the newly engaged couple got married. Now join-spouse, Jared and Regina got assignments to fly the C-130 Hercules at Dyess AFB, Texas.
From Dyess AFB, the Walls deployed together three times to Kuwait and were able to see various parts of the world and share unique and life-changing experiences.
"Sharing our deployments together and day-to-day Air Force life together has been a great experience," Jared said. "It has allowed us to easily relate to each other. It also helps that during those deployments and during much of our career, we have had very similar jobs and the same mission."
After their time at Dyess AFB, Jared and Regina relocated to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, in the spring of 2012.
Once in Alaska, the Wall family grew by one. Their first child was born in the fall of 2012 and would change the way Regina and Jared would go about their lives.
"It wasn't just about us anymore," Regina said. "Making decisions about our positions, assignments and deployments affected more than ourselves. We had to do what was best for our whole family."
While still keeping their family's needs in mind, the Walls kept progressing with their careers and moved back to Laughlin AFB in January 2014. Regina became a T-1A Jayhawk instructor pilot and Jared, a T-6A Texan II instructor pilot.
Since arriving here, the Walls have changed more than duty titles. They have also had their second child and have both promoted to the rank of major together.
Though they were promoted to major on the same day, this is unlikely to be the case for the next rank of lieutenant colonel, as the Walls will have to compete against each other to see who pins on first.
"We have a healthy competition," Regina said. "Of course I like to win, but if I was to get beat-out by anyone, I'd want it to be him."
At this point Jared and Regina aren't sure of an exact career path to take, but they are ready for whatever the future holds.
"We're just going to do our best in the positions we hold now and go from there," Jared said. "We know we can't always get the exact assignment we want, but we've learned to compromise with each other and find a balance."
Although moving from base to base, deploying and working long and erratic hours can be stressful for mil-to-mil spouses; Jared, Regina and their two children have found a balance in the military and their personal lives.
"We've learned to craft many of our career decisions around our family and relationship," Regina said. "It's not always easy, but sometimes what's best for our careers may not be what's best for our family."
While there are many stressors and roadblocks in a mil-to-mil marriage, Jared and Regina have clung to the positives.
"It is very easy for us to relate to each other," Jared said. "We speak the same Air Force language."
Both Jared and Regina are thankful for what they have thus far and are eager to see what comes next.
"We've overcome every obstacle we've been presented with so far," Regina said. "Only time will tell what comes next."