Air Force Flight Nurses Tie Knot Aboard C-17 Transport Jet


It’s not too unusual to propose to the love of your life on the job. But it’s less likely that it happens on a mission in Alaska, and even less likely to tie the knot on a C-17 Globemaster III transport jet.

Match Made in Medical: JB Charleston flight nurses tie knot aboard C-17
Air Force Capts. Derek and Amanda Martindale, flight nurses assigned to the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, hold hands during their wedding ceremony aboard a C-17 Globemaster III jet at Joint Base Charleston, May 19, 2018. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rashard Coaxum
Match Made in Medical: JB Charleston flight nurses tie knot aboard C-17 Flight Nurses Tie Knot Aboard C-17
Air Force Capts. Derek and Amanda Martindale, flight nurses assigned to the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, hold hands during their wedding ceremony aboard a C-17 Globemaster III jet at Joint Base Charleston, May 19, 2018. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rashard Coaxum

But this is just what happened for two 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurses.

Air Force Capts. Derek and Amanda Martindale married May 19 aboard a static C-17 here in a small ceremony on the flight line, presided over by Air Force 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,” one of the nurses said. “Seeing the smiles on our family's and friends' faces afterwards warmed our hearts and confirmed the support we felt.”

Friends From the Start

Derek said the two met here 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 at Denali, the highest mountain peak in America.

“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.”

Match Made in Medical: JB Charleston flight nurses tie knot aboard C-17
Air Force Capts. Amanda and Derek Martindale, flight nurses assigned to the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, raise their hands after being pronounced husband and wife aboard a C-17 Globemaster III jet at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., May 19, 2018. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rashard Coaxum
Match Made in Medical: JB Charleston flight nurses tie knot aboard C-17 Husband and Wife
Air Force Capts. Amanda and Derek Martindale, flight nurses assigned to the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, raise their hands after being pronounced husband and wife aboard a C-17 Globemaster III jet at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., May 19, 2018. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rashard Coaxum

“I feel super lucky just to have met Amanda, let alone marrying her,” he added. “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.”

It All Came Together

Also in attendance were their many squadron members who came out in support of the new union.

The squadron was supportive and excited for them, the couple said. In fact, they noted, squadron member Air Force Master Sgt. Mary Troja told them when they started dating that ”at least the two of you are on the same page as everyone else now,” revealing that the squadron knew where their relationship was going before they did.

The Martindales said that having family, friends and squadron members in attendance was a blessing and that it’s a moment in their lives that they’ll never forget.

To finally have it all come together on the aircraft that has serviced so many of their friends and service members was “beyond an honor,” the couple said, adding that they were overwhelmed by the support they received.