Dual military couple fashions the way for others to follow

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Gaither
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Black History Month is a time to stop and reflect on the great contributions African Americans have made to society. For one Wright-Patt couple, it is a time for them to thank all of the people who paved a way for them, and do some paving themselves.

Respect, consideration and good timing are key factors to the success of Capt. Tammie Ellerbe, 88th Force Support Squadron deputy commander and Capt. Kendric Ellerbe, 18th Intelligence Squadron chief of current operations. Understanding the importance of working together helps them navigate their military careers, as well as their marriage.

“We are both very fortunate to be in the Air Force,” Kendric said. “It has given us the opportunity to grow as individuals, to receive higher education, to travel and to mentor others.”

Early in their enlisted careers, both Ellerbe’s aspired to become officers. They both earned master’s degrees, and two sons later, each of them completed Officers’ Training School.

Over their 34 years of collective service, another opportunity that made a difference in their lives is travel. Through multiple duty stations, the Air Force has taken them various places all over the world.

“Coming from a small town in South Carolina, I never saw much more than my own state, so my mindset was not as experienced or as diverse as it should have been,” Kendric said.

The Ellerbe’s say the only disadvantage is when it comes to temporary duty or deployments, which have been infrequent to date. With the possibility of having to leave at the same time, as with any military couple, arrangements must be made in advance to accommodate their two sons.

“There is always that possibility that we may be tasked with a deployment or TDY at the same time,” Tammie said. “Fortunately for us, this has not happened yet, but if it does, we have family members and friends who are willing to step up to help.”

For this couple, February is not only a time of reflection, but a time to make sure they are giving back to others. They want to mentor enlisted members who dream of being officers, Chiefs or the best Airmen they can be. They have already assisted 13 prior enlisted members become officers.

“The Air Force has given us a great opportunity to be role models. Hopefully, we have empowered others to take ownership of their lives and make the best of each opportunity presented to them, just as others have pushed us far beyond our wildest dreams,” Kendric said.