Air Force Couple Credits Military for Relationship, Higher Education for Children

Couple who met in the Air Force say the U.S. military made their marriage and family stronger

The stress of being a military spouse is unimaginable for so many of us. There are countless military families across the country, families just like the MacKays, who now live in Prosper. Their military story is a bit different than many, as both of them were in the Air Force reserves at the same time. 

Nearly 24 years of marriage has brought Adrienne and Elliot MacKay to this point. They enlisted into active duty in the 1990s -- that's where they met in the Air Force dorms. They both went into the reserves in 2000, but the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 forced them back into active duty.

They said it was something like love at first sight.

“Life was pretty simple, pretty structured back then,” said Ret. Master Sgt. Elliott MacKay.

Elliott spent 24 years of his life and 24 years of his relationship, for that matter, in the military. The two said they loved serving their country, but things quickly got complicated. He has missed his wife’s birthday every year they have been married, except one.

“That’s the only time he has been home for my birthday is when we conceived [our oldest daughter],” said Adrienne, with a laugh.

Then, a little less than five years after their first daughter was born, Elliot was activated about two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. The orders he received were for two years. Communication was difficult halfway around the world, as it is for so many military families dealing with the sacrifice of separation. 

“Back then it was before cell phones and computers and all of that,” said Adrienne. “We wrote letters."

They only had 15 minutes to talk before the call dropped. Not a second sooner. If the family missed the call, it could be another two to three weeks before another call would come.

“There were times I was very lonely and scared after [Sept. 11]. I didn’t know where he was. He wasn’t allowed to divulge that information,” said Adrienne. 

They said their second child and yet another deployment actually wasn’t as bad.

“In 2012, I would pull the laptop up. And sit it there. I would go in the other room and fold laundry and I would hear them in there laughing. Feels like he was home,” said Adrienne.

They said the military definitely changed them, but at the same time, it made their relationship and their family stronger. Once more, their sacrifice is now providing the opportunity for higher education for their children.

“It’s truly a blessing,” said Elliot. “Post 9/11 GI Bill you can transfer to your children. So I split it between my two girls. And because I am a Texas veteran, I am using the Hazlewood Act to legacy 150 hours of school to my daughters as well."

Elliot and Adrienne both look back on their time in the military and said there are so many families who sacrifice for their country. They are just proud to be one of them.

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