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Face of Defense: To Love, Cherish and Serve

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Among the 1% of Americans who serve in uniform are a smaller group whose service is twofold: They are both military members and military spouses.  

The 111,000-plus service members in dual-military marriages all face double doses of the sacrifices that come with military life. Each has their own unique story, too.  

An Air Force couple and a child jump in the air outside.
Holloman Jump
Air Force Capt. Miranda Simmons and Master Sgt. Michael Simmons pose for a photo with one of their daughters at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., April 4, 2022, in honor of Month of the Military Child.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Kristin Weathersby
VIRIN: 220329-F-UH828-044

Air Force Capt. Miranda T. Simmons and Master Sgt. Michael Simmons, part of a blended family, share three daughters – ages 23, 11 and 5 – and a 13-year-old son between them. The couple told us about the challenges – as well as the rewards – that they've experienced with their dual-military marriage.   

An Air Force couple in uniform smiles for a photo.
Sergeant Smiles
Miranda and Michael Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 200326-D-D0439-101R
Air Force Capt. Miranda T. Simmons
Job Title: Chief, Public Affairs
Hometown: To’hajiilee, N.M.
Stationed: Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Unit: 49th Wing
Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Simmons
Job Title: First Sergeant
Hometown: Hillsboro, Texas
Stationed: Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Unit: 49th Operations Group

Talk a little bit about your path to service – when and why did you decide to join? Do you come from a military background?  

Miranda: My Air Force journey started with me being enlisted and it was actually unexpected. Nobody in my immediate family served in the military, and I honestly didn't know much about military service, let alone the Air Force. When I first met with the recruiter, I knew that I needed something different: honestly, just a chance to get away. … I spent 10 years as a paralegal before being selected for commissioning.    

An airman smiles for a photo in front of an aircraft on a flightline.
Miranda Simmons
Miranda Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 181008-F-HC907-0059R
An airman smiles while accepting an award from another airman.
Trophy Moment
Staff Sgt. Michael Simmons accepts an award.
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 111007-D-D0439-101

Michael: My path to military service began after three interesting semesters of college and a random phone call from an Air Force recruiter. Neither of my parents served, and joining the military was never something I wanted to do growing up. I did have a few uncles who served in the Army; in fact, it was one of them who advised to me join the Air Force.  

When and how did you meet? 

Miranda: I met Mike when we were both stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. We had a lot of mutual friends and went to the same gym. It was by chance that a mutual friend of ours formally introduced us in the fall of 2012. That smile of his caught my heart and attention.   

A couple smiles for a photo.
Simmons Smiles
Miranda and Michael Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 220422-D-D0439-107

Michael: We met many moons ago. The story of how is debatable, so we'll just go with however she said it happened.  

How did military service figure into the progression of your relationship?  

Miranda:  My military service was honestly at the forefront of my mind as we began dating and as it progressed. I love serving in the Air Force. About a year into our relationship, I applied for commissioning, and I knew it was going to change our relationship – it would end, or we'd get married.   

Thankfully, by the time I found out I was selected for Officer Training School, we were engaged. So, it worked out perfectly.    

An Air Force couple smiles for a photo while walking under swords.
Saber Arch
Miranda and Michael Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 220422-D-D0439-102

At each step since then, we've understood the importance of communicating and planning – and not just between ourselves but also with our leadership.  We are able to have real, honest conversations about our careers and what's important.    

Michael: It definitely forced us to have the tough conversations. It challenged us to work on our communication skills, which in my opinion became a huge advantage.  

What do you think are the biggest misperceptions (and/or accurate perceptions) people have about dual-military marriages?    

Michael: Misperception: That we have or make a lot of money.  

Miranda: People think being is a challenge, and I would say they are absolutely correct. We both value our service and enjoy what we do, but it is a delicate balance if we want to keep our family in the same location.    

Two airmen stand for a photo with two kids and a civilian helping to hold up a document.
Proclamation Moment
Air Force Capt. Miranda T. Simmons, Master Sgt. Michael Simmons and two of their kids.
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 220413-D-D0439-101

One misperception that some people have is that the Air Force will not try to keep us together. In fact, our leadership has been so helpful when it comes to assignments. The one thing I appreciate most about Mike being in the military is that he understands so many aspects of my job. I can bounce ideas off him and turn to him for mentorship.  

You're also parents. Talk a little bit about the unique situations you face as parents who are a dual-military couple.   

Michael: Being deployed or having to go TDY [temporary duty travel] at the same time. Fortunately for us, we have been able to avoid being gone at the same time (fingers crossed). There have been situations where my wife gets home from a three- to six-week TDY on Saturday and I leave to go TDY on the following Monday, or vice versa.  

Two airmen in civilian clothes smile for a photo with two kids in front of an ornate Gothic-style building.
Family Moment
Miranda and Michael Simmons and family.
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 201221-D-D0439-101

Miranda: The kids understand why we move so often, and we've all been better at using a family calendar to make sure nothing is missed. Mike and I have different mission demands, and the kids understand that; but the TDYs are still kind of hard for them. I think it's challenging because we're still stateside but not at home.    

Have you found any resources or programs the military offers particularly helpful in your home life? 

Michael: All the relationship and parenting classes offered at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.  

An Air Force couple in civilian clothes smiles for a photo.
Dressed Up
Michael and Miranda Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 150131-D-D0439-101

Miranda: While Mike and I were dating, we took a few classes through the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the base chapel. We participated in personality classes, relationship classes and Bible study, which were helpful resources in strengthening our relationship. I remember our first personality-focused class we took and how different our personalities were. It was a fun and engaging class. For our family as a whole, Military OneSource is our go-to resource because there's something for each of us.  

Tell us a little bit about how your spouse shows appreciation for you, and vice versa.  

Michael: My wife vocalizes her appreciation. She always lets me know how much she appreciates my love and how supportive I am of her goals and aspirations. I'm more of an actions kind of person, so doing the little things and being supportive is the way I show appreciation.  

Miranda: I would be on the struggle bus without Mike!  Mike is the most patient, understanding and selfless person I have ever met, and there's not a day that goes by where he doesn't show his appreciation.    

A couple smiles for a photo.
Simmons Smiles
Miranda and Michael Simmons
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 220422-D-D0439-104

He brings me coffee and lunch almost every day because work is usually busy. He volunteers to barbecue for my team during holidays or even just because he wants the dorm airmen to have a home-cooked meal.  He makes sure I have time to work out every day; in fact, he set up our home gym a few years ago to make it easier for me to stay on track with my goals.

I wish I could say I'm as good as Mike when it comes to showing my appreciation, but I doubt I'm anywhere [as] close. The only thing I can think of is that I support his hobbies and make sure he prioritizes time for his golfing and riding his motorcycle. I also make sure I cook some of his favorite dishes.

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