Combat wedding becomes part of Hanscom history

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. C. Michaela Walrond
  • 66 ABW Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is the second heritage feature in a series celebrating the Air Force's 60th Anniversary. 

The stained glass windows of a quaint white chapel, the long flowing train of a Chantilly lace gown, and the gentle melody of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major on a grand piano are all images that might come to mind when one thinks of a typical wedding day. 

However, this momentous occasion played out quite differently nine years ago for Capt. Jeffrey Curry, 653rd Electronic Systems Group, and his wife, Ramona. An unexpected turn of events caused their wedding plans to become part of Hanscom's own history when the couple planned the base's first ever combat wedding. 

The year 1998 became one that Ramona Curry, then-Senior Airman Ramona Slack, would never forget. While working in the orderly room of the 66th Security Forces Squadron here, she received a phone call that then-Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Curry would be PCSing to Hanscom. Because of her position, it was common to receive calls on incoming personnel, she said. 

"The base would normally send me a listing of who was inbound to Hanscom. But when I received a call saying he was coming in, I noticed he wasn't on our list," Mrs. Curry said. 

She explained that the base didn't have orders for him. However, she worked out the issue over the phone, and had him fax orders from Panama, his duty station at that time. During his first couple of days on base, Mrs. Curry said she helped the new sergeant in-process and get started on the job. 

Capt. Curry laughed as he explained that when he first arrived at Hanscom, Mrs. Curry didn't like him.

 "I was new to the cop squadron, and they put on a presence when they are in uniform. Even though I was in uniform, my job was more customer service oriented. He was always saying 'Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am.' And I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, relax,'" Mrs. Curry said. 

Despite the shaky first impressions, Mrs. Curry said they got to know each other over the next several months and eventually began dating. 

While on the job, they both worked different shifts; because of this, many coworkers were not aware of their budding relationship. 

"After about four months of dating, our squadron still didn't know we were a couple. One evening we walked into a squadron Christmas party together and it was like a movie when all the music stops and everyone turns, looks and says 'Wow, what are they doing together?'" Capt. Curry said. 

Four more months passed, and talk of marriage soon surfaced in their conversations. The captain described how he spoke to Mrs. Curry's father first about the possibility of getting engaged.

 "He was wonderful. Jeff's fluent in Spanish and my dad is an immigrant from Mexico -- now naturalized and everything. After we dated for about eight months, he called my dad and asked him for permission to marry me in Spanish -- which impressed the heck out of my dad," she said. 

After the captain received her father's blessing, the wedding plans began to quickly unfold.

 "I was already arranging with my mom for the wedding a year after, and I'm from Los Angeles, so we wanted to get married where my parents were married," she said. 

Even though the plans were underway, the captain realized he had never formally proposed. To make up for this blunder, the captain said he had his future wife "dispatched" to a fake emergency, where she found him waiting with a ring, flowers and signs reading "Will you marry me?" 

With a heartfelt "yes," the couple continued to busily make arrangements. Just as plans were taking flight, however, Mrs. Curry was hit with an assignment to Cape Canaveral, where she would have to report within three months.

 "I told Jeff that I could go to Cape Canaveral and he could stay here and we would continue to plan a wedding for L.A.," she said. With the move coming up so soon, and with their hectic schedules, they both decided that the best option was to plan a short notice wedding at Hanscom. 

With such little time, the couple decided to take a unique approach to marital bliss and get hitched military style. With only a month to prepare, they decided on a combat wedding to officially tie the knot. 

"I just said, 'let's have fun with this, and in 10 years we'll go and have a real wedding. He'll be in mess dress and I'll have my gown. And we'll do the real thing on our 10th anniversary.'" 

Instead of a white chapel as their ceremony's location, the couple opted for the Security Forces Squadron building, where decorations and formal attire were traded for green and black camouflage netting, a large American flag, a combat wedding cake and BDUs including a simple, green veil worn by the bride. The couple exchanged vows in front of coworkers and friends, with a patrol car awaiting them as their "horse and carriage." 

Though the wedding was short notice, the couple said it was a unique experience. "No one had heard of a combat wedding during that time. For many, this was the first combat wedding they had ever seen." Mrs. Curry said. 

Now almost nine years later, with several moves and deployments behind them, the Air Force has brought the Curry family back to Hanscom. With one year to go until that auspicious 10th anniversary, the couple said they're already in the midst of planning their more traditional wedding in Santa Monica, Calif. On Aug. 21, 2008, their tenth anniversary, the couple says they will tie the knot -- this time for their entire family, including their three children, Jordan, Samantha and Jacob -- to witness. 

Even now, years later, the couple still looks back on their first wedding as an exciting, unique experience, one that will live in both their memories and in Hanscom's ever-growing history.