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Mr. and Mrs. staff sergeant

Senior Airmen John and Sonia Vega show off their new staff sergeant stripes after the promotion results were released Aug. 20.  The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts whohave been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

Senior Airmen John and Sonia Vega show off their new staff sergeant stripes after the promotion results were released Aug. 20. The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts whohave been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

Senior Airman Sonia Vega tacks on her husband, Senior Airman John Vega's new staff sergeant stripes after the promotion results were released Aug. 20.  The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts who have been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

Senior Airman Sonia Vega tacks on her husband, Senior Airman John Vega's new staff sergeant stripes after the promotion results were released Aug. 20. The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts who have been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

Senior Airmen John and Sonia Vega show off their new staff sergeant stripes after the testing results were released Aug. 20.  The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts who have been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

Senior Airmen John and Sonia Vega show off their new staff sergeant stripes after the testing results were released Aug. 20. The Senior Airmen Vegas were high school sweet hearts who have been married for more than four years and have two sons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joanna M. Kresge)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Ten years ago, a boy and a girl met at Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas; today, the two are happily married with two children and stationed here.

Senior Airman John Vega, 26, 11th Bomb Squadron intelligence, and Senior Airman Sonia Vega, 27, 2d Medical Squadron immunizations clinic technician, are those high school sweet hearts that met all those years ago. They're also included in the 12,209 senior airmen who were selected for promotion to staff sergeant last month.

This was the second time testing for both of the Vegas; Sonia had high hopes for her husband.
"I wasn't surprised he made it, he is 'the model' Airman," she said. "II was surprised when he didn't make it the first time."

John wasn't as hopeful.

"The first time I tested, I missed the cut off by .72," he said. "I did not have my hopes up this time as high as a lot of people said I should. I am in shock, it hasn't hit me yet."

With Sonia and John's line numbers being 5366 and 6195 respectively, Sonia continues to be the highest ranking of the pair.

"My wife outranking me has been a humorous topic since I joined the Air Force about a year after her. She's cool about it and doesn't pull rank," John said with a smile.

John had showed an interest in going into the Air Force early into his high school career, whereas Sonia had no desire to enlist.

"One day, one of my friends I met in college joined, and she would call me telling me all the experiences she was going through," she said. "It sounded like fun, especially when your school was being paid for--she talked me into it."
John said he'd already decided to join the Air Force, but Sonia's firsthand experience made the difference.

"Before my wife joined the Air Force, I knew I wanted to be part of this team," said John. "When she relayed the experiences from basic to her first assignment, it solidified my commitment."

Since then, the Vegas have had two boys, Jacob, 4, and Joshua, 18 months, and have both deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq together.

John had been at Balad AB from May 2007 to November 2007, and Sonia arrived in September 2007.

Although they were only together for three months, the benefit of having each other nearby wasn't lost on them.

"Being able to share the deployed experience together and knowing to an extent what he was going through was the best thing about being there together," Sonia said. "Not a lot of couples are able to say that."

"When both of us were in Iraq, it was great to see her when we could visit," said John. "At the same time it was very stressful for me to know that the mother of my two boys was in a dangerous war zone. I would have rather her have been at home with them."

Although the Vega's each worried about each other while overseas, their kids came first.

"He left right before Thanksgiving, so he was home in time to be with the kids for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day," she said. "It was sad when he left, but it was such a relief knowing he was home safely and with our kids in time for the holidays."

With John and Sonia becoming NCOs, they are looking towards the future. John plans on re-enlisting one more time before possibly pursuing a career in the FBI or the officer corps. Sonia is working on finishing her degree and commissioning as a nurse in the Air Force.