Love Among the Dunes
She packs survival kits; he's a weapons loader. They met in Spain during a training exercise of the Air Force's 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing. As she fitted his G suit and helmet, they exchanged meaningful looks. Six months later—last Sept. I—AFC Leslie Andrews, 24, from Cincinnati, and SA Carl Wilson, 21, from Anderson, Ind., became engaged. And three days after that, Andrews shipped out to a base in Bahrain. She was followed by Wilson two days later.
Things then proceeded with Schwarzkopf-esque precision. "Like Saddam Hussein," says Wilson, "Leslie didn't have a chance. I gathered intelligence talking to her friends. I plotted the logistics. The outcome was assured." They were married on Nov. 10 in Bahrain by a Canadian minister. During Desert Storm, the newlyweds were housed in gender-segregated quarters. Now, back in Germany, the 52nd's home base, they have their own apartment. Says Carl: "It's a lot better than a tent."
BoJoe, the desert dog, comes to America
He appeared on a desolate road in the Saudi desert, a forlorn 6-week-old white-and-yellow puppy of dubious breed. And what he found was the open arms of 42-year-old M. Sgt. William "Butch" Fields, a member of the fire-fighting outfit of the Air Force's 363rd Civil Engineering Squadron. Fields, a North Carolina native, and BoJoe (his name chosen for its southern sound) became inseparable. "He was a great tension reliever for everyone," says Fields of BoJoe, who reminded the men "of a little piece of home."
At war's end, Fields couldn't leave BoJoe behind. Since BoJoe didn't qualify for military air transport, Fields begged and borrowed $1,488 to ship the pup to the U. via commercial flight. Now, BoJoe is nicely settled at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C., with Fields, his wife, Patty, 37, and daughter Ginny, 15. Aside from sleeping, eating and growing, BoJoe enjoys sprinting on what, to him, must be the exotica of a plain green lawn.
A match made in post-office heaven
When Emily Orr's Aunt Mary May first suggested she write to her boss's son, a nice young Navy officer May had met on his last leave, the 24-year-old Emily balked. "Give me a break," she said. "I don't need my aunt to fix me up with dates." But all being fair in love and war, Aunt Mary shot off a picture of her niece to Lt. Eric Cooper, an intelligence officer aboard the aircraft carrier U. Saratoga in the gulf. And now the matchmaking auntie will have a seat of honor at the United Methodist Church in Milford, Mich., next Oct. 5, a year after Eric wrote his first letter to Emily. That is the day Eric and Emily will marry, concluding a courtship conducted almost entirely through the U.S. mail.
"His first letter was a little formal," Emily recalls, but in replying she thought. "What the heck, I'd just let my personality and humor come out." So Emily, who is 5'4" tall and has light brown hair, wrote, "I'd like to tell you I'm blond, blue-eyed, and have big boobs and legs that don't quit. But you have already seen my picture." The 6'2" Eric "loved the line," and the correspondence picked up steam. "At first." says Emily, "I could read the letters to my mom. Now I have to hide them. They get sort of...sensual."
The letters covered a lot of ground. Eric, 25 and a University of Michigan graduate in Russian studies, and Emily, who is majoring in marketing at Oakland University, found they shared passions for Monty Python, Peter Gabriel, seafood, Dean R. Koontz, peanut butter, and chocolate. By mid-November, says Eric, "we were more than pen pals. She was what I wanted." Stopping in Israel in December, he says, "I started thinking about how this is a good place to buy diamonds." So he did. After several phone calls and a drawerful of correspondence, they were finally face-to-face for the first time on March 29. Emily reports that she went "sprinting" through Detroit airport's baggage-claim area, "took a flying leap and landed in his arms. I could hear his stepmother nearby saying, 'Oh, my goodness!' "
The very next day, after downing a 42-ounce porterhouse steak at a Detroit hotel. Eric pulled out the ring and slipped it on her finger. "I was shaking all over," says Emily: "The best thing," says Eric, now back on duty in Norfolk, Va., "is knowing we can talk as well as we can write." Adds Emily, "I thought he was totally perfect when I was writing to him. I still do."
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