Air Force 1st Lt. Marquel Coaxum

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. – 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.

But that’s 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 partnership almost four years in the making.

Friends From the Start

Derek said the two met at Joint Base Charleston and immediately became friends, and then best friends. After more and more time spent together over a year and a half, the two began 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.

Sign up for our emails to stay connected to the USO and the troops we serve.

“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.”

“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 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 was “beyond an honor,” the couple said, adding that they were overwhelmed by the support they received.