Guard couple juggles military life, share command

Col. Scott Lockwood, commander, Air Force Officer Training School, transfers command of Detachment 12 to Lt. Col. Loralie Rasmussen during a change of command ceremony July 16, 2015, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Rasmussen took command of the detachment from her husband, Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen, who is attending Air War College here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert)

Col. Scott Lockwood, commander, Air Force Officer Training School, transfers command of Detachment 12 to Lt. Col. Loralie Rasmussen during a change of command ceremony July 16, 2015, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Rasmussen took command of the detachment from her husband, Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen, who is attending Air War College here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert)

Lt. Col. Loralie Rasmussen, Officer Training School Detachment 12 commander, and her husband, Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen, Air War College student, take a moment with their family after the change of command ceremony July 16, 2015, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The couple has three children, from left to right, Foster, Amelia Grace and Emmett. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert/Cleared)

Lt. Col. Loralie Rasmussen, Officer Training School Detachment 12 commander, and her husband, Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen, Air War College student, take a moment with their family after the change of command ceremony July 16, 2015, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The couple has three children, from left to right, Foster, Amelia Grace and Emmett. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert/Cleared)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --




Recently, an Air National Guard officer took command of the Air Force Officer Training School's Detachment 12 here from another Guard officer. While that may not seem strange, what is unusual is the fact that the former and new commanders have 23 years of history together.

On July 16, Lt. Col. Loralie Rasmussen assumed command of the detachment from her husband, Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen.

Detachment 12, the Academy of Military Science, falls under the Air National Guard Readiness Center. The detachment is a line officer commissioning program, and its staff of 31 total force members commissioned about 500 total force officers in the past year, with plans to commission more than 1,000 next year.

The Rasmussens' military journey began in 1992 when they were single freshman at the Air Force Academy.

"I remember we were being organized based on home states, and while walking toward the group of other Virginians, I noticed a lone cadet holding up a Delaware sign," said Reid.

That Delaware native, Cadet Loralie Edinger, stood alone as the sole representative of her home state. At that moment, two things were clear to Reid: he was a cadet, and he wanted to know more about Loralie.

While at the Academy, Reid and Loralie began a friendship that developed into a relationship.  Considering the time and distances they were going to be apart from each other as an Air Force couple, they decided not to marry after graduation and braced themselves for a long-distance relationship. 

After completing flight school, Loralie on the RC-135s at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and Reid on the A-10s at Pope AFB, North Carolina, they received their first Air Force permanent assignments, more than 1,200 miles apart.

To keep their relationship going, they took advantage of military space available flights as much as possible.

"I have so many nights spent on airport floors and only getting to see him for 24 hours," Loralie said. "A lot of people said we should have ended the relationship. They didn't think we could handle the long distances and flying the very different air frames, but clearly we have proven that wrong."

In March 1999, Loralie and Reid finally said their "I do's," only to again be apart after she received a deployment notification just days after returning from their honeymoon.

This would be a never-ending cycle for the couple. 

However, in 2002, a life-changing moment occurred with the birth of their first child, which prompted Loralie to join the Air National Guard in 2004. Two years later, the family added their second son.

Loralie's decision to leave active duty provided much needed stability over the years while Reid continued his career.

"Honestly, my Guard time reminded me I was as an officer and not just as a single parent," said Loralie.

In 2012, Reid assumed command of the detachment and looked after their two sons while Loralie worked as an executive officer at Tyndall AFB, Florida, pregnant with their third child.

For a year, Loralie made the trip from Tyndall to Maxwell every weekend until she received an assignment in 2013 as the Air National Guard advisor to the commander of Air University's Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education.

Finally with her family and not wanting to venture away again, Loralie assumed that a command position for her would be out of the question. However, her assumptions were proven wrong when she was selected to assume command of the detachment from Reid.

The Pennsylvania guardsman said she's appreciative of the opportunities she and her husband have had at Maxwell's Air University to be together as a family and plans to plant roots for a while.

"I wanted to command, but I had just gotten my family under the same roof, so I didn't want to explore other opportunities to put us back apart. I'm definitely grateful to be able to command and not separate our family," she said. 

When asked about commanding a total force detachment, Loralie responded, "I don't feel like I'm Guard, I feel like I'm Air Force. I know a lot about the Guard, and I know a lot about the Air Force ... so this will be exciting. I'm thrilled!"

Taking command of a unit from a spouse could sound daunting to some, but Loralie said she's ready to continue what Reid started, but in her own way.

"I don't know if I would have chosen to follow my husband, but we work really well together ... so, in this capacity I couldn't have asked to follow a better person. I know what he's gone through; I've seen it from a leadership perspective, and I know I have big shoes to fill," she said. "I hope to allay some fears right off the bat and say, 'Hey, I think very differently from my husband, and I am not my husband.'"

Her biggest supporter and wingman has no worries, either.

"My first reaction was that it's good for the unit," said Reid, who is now an Air War College student here. "They're lucky to have her; she will 'kill' it like everything else she's done."