Officer and Enlisted Marriage After Graduation/Commissioning

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by JCha0714, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. JCha0714

    JCha0714 New Member

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    If two people who were dating in high school decide to stay together while one attends the USAF Academy and the other will enlist in the Air Force, will they have no choice but to end their relationship after graduation/commissioning? Is there or is there not a "grace period" (1 year?) after one becomes an officer for those two to get married? Can they get married without any trouble after graduation/commissioning? They will not be in the same chain-of-command (the enlistee is going into special forces and the soon-to-be officer might major in behavioral science or biology).
     
  2. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I don't know the exact time frame. I have been told that if the relationship is identified and documented before the cadet graduates, that it can continue. I don't know all the details. This is second hand information from my cadet, but not super recent.
     
  3. JCha0714

    JCha0714 New Member

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    That sounds like a relief. Just have the relationship identified and documented? I wonder what the process is like. How recent was this information?
     
  4. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I would definitely look for an AR that covers this situation. The only way I personally know of an enlisted/officer marriage being kosher is if they were previously married and then one becomes an officer.

    I have seen this in action at one smaller command I was at (~300 people) and it made for a few awkward moments at smaller wardroom functions.

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  5. JCha0714

    JCha0714 New Member

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    To clarify, do you mean Air Force Recruiter when you said AR?
     
  6. bmw17

    bmw17 NWP 2012

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    I'm not really sure about the specifics but I have heard that the Cadet Sight Picture was recently changed (for this upcoming school year) to say that cadets cannot be in a relationship with an enlisted member during their time at the Academy. As far as I know this is not an actual Air Force rule but rather just an Academy rule. I think this, unfortunately, might complicate your answer. In the active duty Air Force it is my understanding that it is kosher so long as there is a documented prior relationship.
     
  7. PJ Allen

    PJ Allen Member

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    AR = Air Force Regulation
     
  8. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    Back in the day when the AF still had Regulations, they were shorthanded to AFR. In the early 90s as part of the “Quality AF” movement, they were all converted to Air Force Instructions or AFI for short. Not sure what KP2001 is referring to other than possibly an Army Regulation (AR).
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Quick question, are you an appointee, or just an applicant at this point? I can't believe that you are a cadet currently because if you were you would be able to find the info at the AFA.

    Either way I think you are putting the cart before the horse. Some reality aspects to think about.
    1. If an applicant or an appointee you have 4 YEARS before this is an issue/factor.
    ~~ If she/he enlists it will probably be for 4 years. They could leave the service at that point.
    2. Do you know the group that cadets marrying their HS sweethearts belong to?
    ~~ The 2% club. That is because only 2% of cadets entering any SA marry their HS sweetheart.
    Not saying you won't be a member of that club, just saying the odds are against you, and again, why I think you are putting the cart before the horse.
    3. Joint military marriages are not easy even when it is between the same ranks.
    ~~ They will try to station the couple together, but only guarantee the same theatre. We have had many friends that as married. Couples PCS at different times, or was assigned to different bases.
    ~~~~ Jeannie Flynn Lovitt us the Wing Queen at Seymour for F15Es, her DH is at Shaw in the 16.

    Hornet's DH is an A10 pilot while he is at Del Rio.

    Fencer and my DS winged together out of Del Rio. DS got married last week to his college sweetheart. Fencers DS will get married next month. They both commissioned in 12. In a 2 year span, fencers DS was casual at the AFA until UPT, and will boith do four TDYs before they PCS to Dyess Jan 2015..
    1. IFS
    2. Water survival
    3. SERE
    4. C130J RTU.

    Our DSs wife is not military, she will join him in Little Rock for the 5 month RTU. Fencers DIL is an AFA grad. They have purchased a home in Abilene. She is assigned to Dyess currently. They will live their first 5 months of marriage in two different states. While he was at UPT she was stationed at another base. They are lucky that she is a Maintainer on the C130, because had he got a C5 to Charleston or a C 17 to Dover, things could have been different regarding how soon they could be together.

    Again, I am just trying to illustrate how many hoops you will go through if you want to go rated, and how as lovely the idea of marrying your HS sweetheart is, it is best to place your attention towards commissioning and the immediate life after commissioning for your career than wondering the process four years from now.

    Caveat, my assumption is you are not at the AFA currently.

    OBTW, I know several AF spouses that were enlisted and married officers. The enlisted member in all of these cases gave up their career.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I won't address the issues Pima brings up. Frankly, they are the more important/pressing issues about the situation. However, I'll be optimistic, assume you two will be together forever, and advise from that point of view.

    You shouldn't be forced to end the relationship because one goes to USAFA and one enlists. I have conflicting thoughts on inform vs. no inform. Not informing your command officially that you are dating enlisted as a cadet means you may never have to worry about it or deal with the gray area on the issue as a cadet. However, discovery of the issue may hurt you in official channels and unofficial channels. It's very risky. On the other hand, informing up front can cause some of the same issues. Really, your chains of command are not mixed and in the rest of the AF, you would unlikely be reprimanded. As a cadet, if a leader tries to push due to the CSP regs, it could get nasty. MY OPINION - they have little standing to force you to break off the relationship because 1) it was a prior standing relationship before the AF was involved and 2) you are not in the same chain of command or expected to be in a way that would lead to unprofessionalism. And IF they began taking action against you, it would be reasonable grounds for an IG and/or legal action complaint against your command.

    In the end, you shouldn't alter plans under the possibility your relationship will create career issues. And you'll be in a better decision to deal with it once in your respective careers. My advice - enjoy your relationship and make your career decision without that in mind. Don't lose sleep over it.

    Side note- I was a 2LT when I starting dating my DH and he was/still is a Capt. Never an issue. I know a 1LT who is actually dating a Col - while it could be a little eyebrow raising, they haven't experienced any pushback (and their relationship is not a secret - different chains of command). These aren't officer/enlisted examples, but the military usually isn't too uptight about mixed rank relationships.
     
  11. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    The relevant quotation from the recent CSP update:

    "1.3.4.1.4. USAFA Officer Candidates will not maintain unprofessional
    relationships, to include a prior relationship, with enlisted member unless enlisted
    member is a member of the cadet‘s family."
     
  12. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Off topic - but congratulations Pima and Bullet!:thumb:
     
  13. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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    Are all personal relationships unprofessional in the AF's eyes?

    ( I knew several officer-enlisted married couples during my time in the Army. )
     
  14. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Yeah, I wasn't paying attention and was thinking Army. You are correct AR is Army regulation. As you note AFI would be the correct term for the Air Force.

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  15. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    Apparently that's the line USAFA is going to try and draw now. I see it as being somewhat problematic, particularly with prior enlisted cadets who have TONS of friends and boyfriends/girlfriends that they met before the academy.

    I'm curious to see how it plays out, as I know a few priors who have already documented their prior enlisted relationships to the permanent party here...
     
  16. NavyMama

    NavyMama Member

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    yes it will be a problem

    If the answer contains, "it shouldn't..." as in "it shouldn't make a difference as long as it is a documented prior existing relationship", "it shouldn't make a difference as long as you are in separate chain of commands" etc then you can be certain it IS a problem. Logic and reason are often times at polar opposites with military life.

    It CAN be a problem IF either of your commanders decide to make it one. Plain and simple. You CANNOT get married before you commission from USAFA, and if you marry an enlisted service member (even if from a different branch) you will have obviously been in violation of fraternization (by the letter of the UCMJ).

    My daughter is commissioning in the Navy (in August via NROTC) and married her high school boyfriend who enlisted in the USMC after high school in March b/c of the research they did. We consulted JAG lawyers and an assortment of brass from every branch about this. Everyone had a different take on the legal implications if they didn't get married and continued to date or get married after her commissioning. The only point of agreement was that if they were married before her commissioning (which is permissible in ROTC) then they couldn't be guilty of frat. Joint base assignments, mutual friends, attending balls and events, etc are all still tricky. My daughter and I both invested a lot of hours researching this.

    Bottom line: If you aren't willing to sacrifice this relationship or put it on the back burner for your time of service, consider ROTC instead of an Academy. USAFA has cancelled all the Autumn balls for the foreseeable future anyway, so not a lot of chances to spend time together.
     
  17. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Why do I get the feeling that this rule would be on shaky legal ground, if JA did a review.
    (During my cadet time the USAFA Commandant had to rescind at least one order after they discovered they did not have the authority to make it in the first place.)
     
  18. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    You're not the first person I've heard say something along those lines...
     
  19. slothcannon

    slothcannon Member

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    Actually, this isn't true. An officer and an enlisted member can get married and it is not considered fraternization, as weird as that sounds.
     
  20. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    This is bad gouge except in very, very explicit conditions where the marriage occurred when fraternization was not the case.

    I'm not sure why the confusion, the AFI is fairly explicit when it comes to this which can be found by googling afi 36-2909.

    Section 5: specific prohibitions relating to officers:

    "Officers will not engage in sextant relations with or date enlisted members"

    5.1.3.1 "officer/enlisted marriages. When evidence of fraternization exists, the fact that an officer and enlisted member subsequently marry does not preclude appropriate command action based on the prior fraternization." It then goes on to describe how officer/enlisted marriages in specific situations can occur and be okay.

    If there are updates to this AFI I'd be interested to see as this one is dated 1999.

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