Mil-to-mil MTIs, dynamic duo

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Denise Nevins
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of four articles on mil-to-mil relationships, the struggles the Airmen face and how they overcome adversity.

It was during his special duty assignment as a military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, that Tech. Sgt. Gideon Stibor, 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution NCO in charge, met the woman who would soon become his wife.

"We met during a night shift of charge of quarters [CQ]," said Tech. Sgt. Lillian Stibor, 28th Medical Operations Squadron dental records technician NCOIC. CQ is a tasked duty in which MTIs guard the front entrance to the barracks, and is usually a 24 hour shift. "Having all that time to talk really helped the relationship grow from friendship to something more."

Gideon Stibor had already been an MTI for two years by the time his future wife arrived, and assumed the role of her mentor.

"It's like you see in all the movies, how the hero always falls in love with the heroine," Gideon Stibor said. "Dramatic events bring people together, and being an MTI is a dramatic event."

Between working more than 18 hours a day, lack of sleep, and working different schedules, they found it was difficult to find time to spend together.

"The stress this job puts you under is no joke," Gideon Stibor said. "Sometimes you just had to talk to your supervisor and say 'Hey, I really need to take a day off.' That was sometimes one of the only ways I could see her."

After taking the time to get to know each other, Gideon and Lillian Stibor finally decided to get married.

"I knew she was the one for me when I found myself staring at my phone every moment of the day hoping there was a missed call or text from her," Gideon Stibor said. "She was all I could think about."

Lillian Stibor added they decided to get married because they knew their love would last. Additionally, any life plan the Stibor's made ultimately revolved around each other.

Even after they were married, finding time for each other still proved difficult, but they developed a system and made it work.

"Once we were married and had our daughter, it became sort of a 'tag-you're-it' kind of thing," Lillian Stibor said. "Whenever I had a night shift for CQ, [Gideon] would meet me in the parking lot and I would drop our daughter off with him."

Both Stibor's agreed their marriage helped them escape the stressors of work.

"Lilly was and is my great escape," Gideon Stibor said. "Work had a tendency to get me spun up and on edge, and she has a way of keeping me grounded. When I'm with her, I know who I am and what kind of person I want to be, so I didn't lose myself in the façade I had to portray every day."

Lillian Stibor added she could always depend on her husband to listen and discuss work related conversation because she knew he would understand, and give her the best advice.

Although the job included stress and conflicting schedules, they agreed serving as MTIs really helped their marriage in the long run.

"During our training as MTIs, we took a personality indicator to find out more about ourselves and how we relate to others," Gideon Stibor said. "You have to know who you are before you can really appreciate someone else."

Lillian Stibor added the time experience as an MTI helped improve their communication skills.

"When the Air Force changed from having only one instructor to two instructors [working] a flight, you had to be able to relay to your partner exactly what happened during your time, verbatim," Lillian Stibor said. "It's the same thing in a marriage, being able to tell your spouse what you have going on that day and vice versa."

Looking back, Gideon Stibor recalls how the time he served at Lackland affected his life personally.

"The best thing that came out of MTI duty wasn't the sense of pride, or the thousands of lives I may have impacted," Gideon Stibor said. "It was meeting my beautiful wife and [having] two wonderful kids."