Dual-military: communicate, plan Published June 30, 2023 By Staff Sgt. Alan Ricker 15th Wing Public Affairs JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- According to the 2021 Demographics Report published by the Department of Defense, the Air Force has the greatest percentage, 11.3%, of active-duty officers serving alongside their significant others in dual-military marriages.Lt. Col. Zachary Mason, Budget Operations Branch Headquarters Pacific Air Forces financial management and comptroller directorate chief, and Maj. Lyka Mason, 15th Comptroller Squadron commander, first met in Eglin Air Force Base as lieutenants.“We started as friends, we kept in touch throughout the years and later stationed again at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and got married,” said Lyka Mason. “Before getting married, we had discussions about our priorities as a family and being military members. As dual-military in the same career field, we understand that eventually we will have to make some tough choices.”Both stressed the importance of communication and acknowledged the unique challenges that come with serving in the military as spouses.“We balance the competing demands of marriage, parenthood, and the military through deliberate planning,” said Zachary Mason. “We are honest with ourselves when creating our childcare plan, and recognize that long work days can often be the norm.”“We also ensure we build a leave plan a year in advance that accounts for busier times of the year. The planning we do has helped us find the right balance to give our children, our careers and each other the needed level of attention,” continued Zachary Mason.Recently, the Masons switched positions within the Pacific Air Forces headquarters and the 15th Wing, allowing them to retain some sustainability for their family.“Our leadership and the U.S. Air Force assignments process has been extremely supportive of us both and has found creative ways to keep our family together while also providing opportunities for continued promotion,” said Lyka Mason. “We always keep in mind the needs of the Air Force comes first and foremost, but thus far those needs could be filled while keeping us together most of the time.”The Masons are two of 7,238 active-duty officers that demonstrate the efforts the Air Force has made to increase the feasibility of serving in the Air Force as dual-military spouses.“Overcommunicate and be honest with each other,” said Zachary Mason. “Build plans that work for both of you. Find supportive mentors — they are out there.”“In our experience, dual-military families are more common and more successful than they were 15 years ago when we entered the service. We’re excited to be part of the solution and thrilled to be part of an evolving Air Force culture that is recognizing and supporting the contributions of both members of dual military families,” continued Zachary Mason.