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Military Spouse Appreciation Day: SNCO couple reflects on experiences during COVID-19

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Amanda “Mae” Arguello, 52nd Fighter Wing deputy chief, wing protocol, and Senior Master Sgt. Alvin “Al” F. Arguello II, Air Force Security Forces Center superintendent of strategic plans and programs, pose for a photo at a ceremony in 2017 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Al and Mae have been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to grow in their marriage despite the temporary distance the virus caused. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Amanda “Mae” Arguello)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Amanda “Mae” Arguello, 52nd Fighter Wing deputy chief, wing protocol, and Senior Master Sgt. Alvin “Al” F. Arguello II, Air Force Security Forces Center superintendent of strategic plans and programs, pose for a photo at a ceremony in 2017 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Al and Mae have been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to grow in their marriage despite the temporary distance the virus caused. (Photo courtesy of Master Sgt. Amanda “Mae” Arguello)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is celebrated every year on May 8 to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices spouses make for their loved ones in the Armed Forces. Military spouses are the “glue” that holds families together when their family member must report for duty at a moment’s notice.

However, there are times when both spouses are active duty members that must put service before self, including during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Amanda “Mae” Arguello, 52nd Fighter Wing deputy chief, wing protocol, and Senior Master Sgt. Alvin “Al” F. Arguello II, Air Force Security Forces Center superintendent, strategic plans and programs, reflected on their experience of being a mil-to-mil couple.

“I first met Mae when she auditioned for the National Anthem during the 2015 Annual Awards Banquet at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia,” said Al. “As our personal relationships became more serious, the Air Force had different plans for us.  I was promoted to senior master sergeant and received orders to Lackland AFB, Texas, and she was given an assignment to Spangdahlem AB, Germany.  Unsure how these changes would affect our relationship, we remained committed to each other.”

Al said before the COVID-19 pandemic, their functional assignment managers were assisting to reunite them.

“Mae needed a date eligible to return from overseas curtailment since I was unable to receive an assignment to Spangdahlem,” said Al. “As fate would have it, her curtailment was approved, but the pandemic slowed our join spouse process.”

Mae said both Al’s and her leadership have been supportive of them trying to get stationed together.

“We knew it wouldn’t be easy or immediate,” said Mae. “We are hoping to have our joint spouse assignment soon, Al is absolutely worth waiting for.”

Despite the long distance continuing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Al and Mae continue to strengthen their marriage.

“Our communication has continued to grow,” said Al. “We both believe that our faith will keep us together.”

Mae said they continue to communicate through video calling and text messages.

“We do the video messages, email, and text,” said Mae. “We video chat when he is at lunch and when I’m at lunch. Basically we’re ‘together’ as much as possible.”

Al and Mae have been overcoming long distance challenges during this time through trust and faith.

“Mae and I trust and love each other very much,” said Al. “We do our best to make sure we are part of each other’s day and include each other in our activities the best we can.  We constantly rely on each other as if we were together by seeking advice for both work and personal issues.”

Mae said her commitment to Al and the promise they made is what keeps her spirits high.

“I don’t want to say it’s easy, but having the same goals and having good communication helps keep us going,” said Mae. “Everything is temporary. We have a plan for our retirements already and our life after the military. So, although the separation isn’t fun, it’s worth some inconvenience to spend the rest of our lives together and fulfilling our dreams together.”

Al and Mae said their best advice for those who are experiencing long distance during this unsure time is to remain faithful and continue to include each other each day.

“Some days are harder than others, but communicate and learn each other’s love language,” said Al. “If you believe, and have faith, anything is possible.”