"All is Fair in Love and War"

  • Published
  • By SSgt Jeramy Moore
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing
What are the odds? That’s what Capt. Meagan Bowman, an instructor pilot with the 911th Air Refueling Squadron asked herself from the flight deck of a KC-135R Stratotanker as she refueled an F-15E Strike Eagle piloted by her husband, Capt. Harwood Bowman, a fighter pilot with the 4th Fighter Wing, over the dark desert mountains.
What are the chances that she would be in the Air Force with her husband she thought, better yet perform an aerial refueling sortie together in a combat zone?
“It was just one of those bright nights, it was supposed to be pitch black but, everything was completely lit up by the moonlight” Meagan recollected, “It was so peaceful.”
Bowman, and her husband are among the less than 10 percent of military members in “join spouse” assignments, a program that allows legally married active-duty military couples the opportunity to be stationed together at the same installation.
 “I’m really happy to be here with him, said Meagan,” Refueling him midair and completing sorties for the Air Force is just the icing on the cake.”
Earlier this year, the couple deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and ended up meeting in the most unexpected place, the airspace over a forward operating base.
“I hadn’t seen her for several months and meeting her up there made that flight extra special,” said Harwood, “It is a experience that both of us will never forget.”
This was not the first time the couple met in the air. Bowman has refueled her husband multiple times since they first met back in 2013.
“I met him at pilot training,” Meagan laughed, “It made Laughlin Air Force Base a lot more bearable. Since then, I’ve had the chance to connect with him in the air many times and in some very cool places.”
After pilot training, the couple moved around with the Air Force before they finally arrived at Seymour Johnson
“Seymour Johnson is one of the few installations that utilizes both tankers and fighters, and therefore it’s one of the few places where we could be co-located,” said Meagan, “We entertained Mildenhall Air Force Base, but in the end we found Seymour Johnson to be the perfect fit.”
From a National Defense perspective the Joint Assignment of the Bowman’s is a sign of modernization within the force. In the Bowman’s case, the Air Force adapted to the needs of a military family by allowing them to spend more time together. This strengthens individual member and improves the overall health of the force.
“The Air Force got this one right,” said Col. Craig McPike, the commander of the 916th Air Refueling Wing. “Assigning two highly skilled combat aviators together at Seymour Johnson who happen to be married enables Rapid Global Mobility and Global Power assets to forward deploy into combat environments and be successful in supporting our National Defense Strategy.
“We love the Air force, it has broadened our horizons, given us different perspectives on different cultures and different types of people,” said Meagan,” but most importantly it brought us together.”