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News | Dec. 11, 2023

I now pronounce you Airman & Airman; married couple enlists together

By Isabella Jansen 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Taking the oath of enlistment is an experience all Airmen must undergo, and is a common occurrence at the 115th Fighter Wing. Uncommon, however, is swearing in a husband and a wife together.

In November 2023, husband and wife Steven Krueger and Paola Astudillo enlisted in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, joining a wing that respects and promotes the bonds between Airmen and their families.

The couple’s interest in joining the armed forces began at a young age, as they grew up in military families. Astudillo’s father and uncle both served in the Ecuadorian army, and Krueger’s father served as an active-duty infantry officer in the U.S. Army. Krueger also had additional family members who served in the U.S. Air Force at the 115th Fighter Wing.

Following in his family’s footsteps, Krueger enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Air National Guard before swearing in this year. During his prior enlistment as a munitions specialist at the 115th Fighter Wing, both Krueger and Astudillo experienced the unit’s culture firsthand.

“I was amazed when I saw how family-oriented it is and how supportive they are, and it has been a dream of mine to join,” Astudillo said. “I’ve always had that calling to serve and put others before myself.”

While they both shared a respect for the military, the family-oriented nature of the Wisconsin Air National Guard appealed to Krueger and Astudillo most of all.

“The family bonds run deep with a lot of members and families that are out here on base,” Krueger said. “I think that speaks to the true essence of the National Guard, and especially Truax Field.”

While serving, Krueger was intrigued by the possibility of working alongside his wife, but Astudillo wasn’t ready to pursue her lifelong dream to enlist.

“It was just never the exact opportunity or perfect time for me. I went to college, got my bachelor’s degree and pursued my career, but the calling was still in me,” Astudillo said.

It wasn’t until after they got married that Astudillo took her first steps toward serving in the Air National Guard.

“We agreed that if we’re going to start the process, we’re going to do it together. Then, lo and behold, Nov. 22 became both of our enlistment dates,” said Krueger. “It’s my wife’s first enlistment and my third, but we’re both going to be stationed here together at Truax Field as traditional Airmen.”