Yet roughly four years later, standing in the University Club here as a married couple, Reagan and Rebecca took the Officer’s Oath in front of loved ones July 15, 2016, at the University of Alabama.
Their journey started their first year of college when Rebecca was approached by Capt. Joseph R. Goll, the prior officer selection officer for Tuscaloosa. Soon after, Reagan made a phone call to a local recruiter’s office wanting to enlist, but then learned about the officer program. From there, they started down the path to become Marine officers through the Platoon Leaders Class Program while attending college full time.
“I met the officer selection officer on campus and I didn’t have any military intentions before meeting him,” Rebecca said. “I had no idea about the options available in the military. I wanted to do something bigger than myself — more than just a nine-to-five job.”
Training to Become Officers
For Reagan and Rebecca the program meant that they would participate in two six-week training evolutions at Officer Candidates School. To earn their commissions, they had to attend these sessions between school years on top of meeting the program requirements until school graduation.
“I thought it was good because I got the college experience and then do training in the summer to accomplish my goal of becoming a Marine,” Reagan said. “I liked that there wasn’t a big-time commitment like the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps had, which allowed me to focus on my core classes and have the free time to experience college life.”
While going through the program, the two became friends with the common interest of doing something larger than themselves and still working on finishing their business degrees.
“We met each other through the program and talked during the pool physical training,” Rebecca said. “Eventually, we started hanging out outside of physical training. It was like a switch flipped. We went out on a date and then more dates followed.”
As the dates continued, their relationship eventually led to Reagan proposing at the location of their first date.
At first, they kept their relationship private, as they were worried that it would be frowned upon in the . When they became engaged, they announced it to Capt. Clifton E. Payton, officer selection officer ofTuscaloosa, Alabama, and were pleasantly surprised to receive lots of support.
“A lot of the struggle we’ve found with recruiting people is that some of them have this misconception that they can’t get married or have a family in the ,” Payton said. “I believe that [Reagan and Rebecca] are a perfect example that this is a family-friendly organization.”
Rebecca had originally started the program considering a career in a ground field. After learning more about the program, Rebecca changed to a career in the aviation field.
“Not everyone can do aviation and I wanted to challenge myself,” Rebecca explained. “So I took the test and passed. I’m excited for the challenge; a pilot’s career is very diverse, and I like that.”
Both Reagan and Rebecca contributed portions of their success to the one another as they helped each other with obstacles along the way.
“Together, we pushed each other to be better in academics and physical training,” Rebecca said.
“She’s really great at studying and I’m good at working out, so we just play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Reagan said.
All that work paid off as Rebecca had the honor of commissioning her husband after she was commissioned by Payton.
“It’s a good story to pass on to our children and grandchildren someday,” Reagan said. “I can’t think of a more perfect person to do it than her.”
Reagan and Rebecca are slated to depart in October to go to The Basic School.
“I don’t have to worry if I’m making a difference anymore, now I know I am,” Rebecca said.
By Marine Corps Cpl. Diamond N. Peden