A chief-to-chief relationship
Stars and Stripes June 6, 2007
UK weekly edition, Wednesday, June 6, 2007
RAF MILDENHALL — There are many married military couples serving in the Air Force. But to have both spouses at the highest enlisted rank and in the same career field is a whole different story.
Chief Master Sgts. Douglas and Cynthia Ream were added to that relatively rare demographic during her promotion ceremony last week.
There are about 140 chief-to-chief marriages out of more than 15,000 enlisted couples on active-duty status, according to the Air Force Personnel Office.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long time coming,” Cynthia said following her ceremony Thursday inside the Galaxy Club.
Both Reams joined the service back in 1980 and eventually met while stationed at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, where they worked as fighter crew chiefs.
“His girlfriend was actually my maid of honor at my first wedding,” she said.
As fate would have it, though, they began to see each other romantically a few years later after they both got divorced.
“We lost our exes, and then we got together,” Cynthia said with a burst of laughter, while Douglas nodded in agreement and smiled.
With the promotion, the Reams — both maintenance superintendents at Mildenhall — now look forward to working with each other on a different level.
“It opens doors. He can help me cut through some of the red tape,” said Cynthia, who works for the 100th Maintenance Squadron.
“Networking is what it’s all about,” said Douglas, from the 352nd Maintenance Squadron.
Their leadership roles will come in handy because 100th Maintenance Squadron airmen help with the upkeep of aircraft from the 352nd Special Operations Group.
“If there are issues I’ll definitely be calling the other Chief Ream,” Douglas said.
Both chiefs agreed that there could also be some friendly trash talk among them in the future.
“He always talks trash about his squadron, and I just roll my eyes,” Cynthia said.
As far as leadership styles, the Reams share similar techniques.
“I think both of ours are about the same. Depending on the situation, you can either be dominating or be convincing. You have to be able to read the individual and what they are portraying. It’s a balance,” she said.
Command Chief Master Sgt. Mike Warner, 100th Air Refueling Wing, attended the promotion ceremony and thought of the Reams as positive role models who have shown military couples that one doesn’t have to sacrifice their career for the other.
“[They] have both reached the pinnacle of their careers. They are a great example,” he said.