February 1, 2023 By Darlene Alexander

Love Birds

A catchy but rather strange headline in the January 1981 AF Times that featured  two PVE residents and got tongues wagging: KAPAUN AS, Germany—The reason this pair is trying to cut the cake with those funny-looking swords, you see, is that they just became colonels. It may be the first time in the Air Force that a husband and wife have pinned on their eagles the same day. He is Colonel Joseph R. Alexander, deputy chief of staff for technical plans and requirements of the European Communications Area (ECA). She is Colonel Darlene K. Brewer, 17th AF deputy commander for communications and air traffic control matters and commander of the 2134th Communications Squadron at Sembach AB. They met as students at Armed Forces Staff College in 1975 and were married two years afterwards. The new colonels were “pinned” by USAFE Commander in Chief General Charles Gabriel, center. At left is ECA Commander Brigadier General John Paul Hyde and at right is 17th AF Commander Major General William E. Brown. Generals Brown and Hyde had planned separate ceremonies but General Gabriel heard about the plan and foiled it, announcing a single ceremony with him in charge; Generals Hyde and Brown could come and watch. And so it was.

Now for the rest of the story

Our being married was not common knowledge. I maintained my maiden name, and Joe contended it was best to keep my maiden name: in case YOU screw up, I don’t want folks to think it’s me.” Words (nice words) can’t describe my response. Let’s just say he regretted it. Anyway, except for our staffs and a few friends, few

knew we were married. That led to interesting encounters, but that’s another story.


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