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To start out the new year, husband and newly promoted Chief Warrant Officer Jay Walker and son, Matt Michael (center) pin on Master Sgt. Julianna Walker’s new collar device at a promotion ceremony at Sagami Depot Wednesday. Both Chief Warrant Officer Walker and Master Sgt. Walker were promoted on the same day.
To start out the new year, husband and newly promoted Chief Warrant Officer Jay Walker and son, Matt Michael (center) pin on Master Sgt. Julianna Walker’s new collar device at a promotion ceremony at Sagami Depot Wednesday. Both Chief Warrant Officer Walker and Master Sgt. Walker were promoted on the same day. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

SEGAMI DEPOT, Japan — It was a perfect coincidence and a chance for Mr. and Mrs. Walker to see each other promoted.

Mr. — now Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jay Walker — and Mrs. — now Master Sgt. Julianna Walker — both were pinned with new ranks Wednesday.

It was the first time Jay hasn’t missed his wife’s promotion because of a deployment.

“They’re a living example that the Army’s married couple program works,” said Lt. Col. Lee Stockland, 35th Supply and Service Battalion commander, at their promotion ceremony here.

Chance synchronized their promotions.

“We kind of joked about it," Julianna said, noting the couple didn’t think their promotions would coincide.

She was selected for promotion in the spring but the actual month for the pinning is based on the promotion order. “It goes by sequence number,” she said. December was her month.

Jay recently learned he was promoted; it was later than usual because the warrant officer promotion board decisions were delayed this year.

The new ranks mean higher position, more authority and much more responsibility.

For Julianna, 38, promotion to E-8 is something she didn’t expect when she enlisted 18 years ago.

“I’ve never imagined I’d make it that far,” she said.

She already has her sights on the next advancement.

“My next aspiration is to be first sergeant of a unit,” she said.

Jay, 37, planned to enlist for just three years to help pay for college. That was 19 years ago.

“I was going to take the college money and run,” he said. “I found out staying in was a better life.”

The new rank offers him better job prospects.

“The opportunities are better for higher positions once you make W-3,” Jay said. “It really makes a big difference when you go from W-2 to W-3 in our field.”

He’s a marine engineering officer with the Army’s “navy” at North Dock in Yokohama. She’s the battalion noncommissioned officer in charge of logistics.

Neither regrets making the Army their career.

“It was the best decision of my life,” Julianna said.

Second best was marrying Jay.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Paul S. Clopton, maintenance technician with the 35th, also was promoted with the Walkers.

His wife, Rhonda Clopton, the new Segami Depot mayor, said the promotion was well deserved. “[He] found out about two weeks ago,” she said. “I’m so happy for him.”

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