BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA (KSLA) - If you look for Col. Makros at Barksdale Air Force Base, you’re going to be asked which one.
You see, there are two of them on the military installation.
And after spending just a few minutes in a room with them, you can’t help but smile.
Rob and Beth Makros’s love and zest for life is infectious.
“We took our vows very seriously when we took them,” Rob said. “Communication, humor.”
"Lots of humor," echoed Beth.
"The kids keep us straight," he continued, "We don’t have a choice but to laugh at them and with them."
The two met as cadets in the Air Force Academy. After graduation, Beth went to grad school, Rob to pilot training.
“We just kept missing, kind of getting stationed around each other," she recalled. "We were consistently trying to get stationed together, and it just wasn’t going to work.”
Despite the challenges of long distance, they married in 2000.
Then came the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Which launched a series of deployments," Beth said.
"We just kept missing each other, and then we would be deployed on off cycles. So all together from after we got married, it was about four years, just over four years of being stationed apart that we both decided or our leadership supported us going back to AETC (Air Education and Training Command) to be instructors,” she said.
Finally uniting them, but only for a short time.
“We were at the same base for 18 months and then we got spit up again,” they laughed.
"And that was again a challenge,” Beth continued.
“We knew that was another point we need to redefine, what our definition of success is and where do we see our future going," Rob explained. "And that’s when we decided, after a family was in our future, and that’s what we want to do, we took a real hard look at us defining what happiness is for us and at the end of the road what are we gonna be happy with?”
Serving in a bomber community, the Makroses say they have found a place where they can flourish as a family unit.
“We’re both going to have these retirement ceremonies. When they happen, who knows. But my definition of success, which I can say is the same for Beth, because we talk about all the time, in the front row there four chairs - my wife and my three girls.
"And if they’re sitting there looking at me and they’re happy and they’re proud of what I did, then we’re happy. That’s winning.”
The Makroses, who moved to Barksdale in 2017, have been assigned to the same base for about four years now.
“We were angling to come to Barksdale for a while to try and get in the location where we knew there were ample jobs for us in all the same location,” Beth said.
Now she commands the 608th Air Operations Center at Air Force Global Strike Command.
And he is vice commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing.
They credit their decision to define success and put family first for helping them through some of life’s toughest moments.
“I just think we have a realistic approach to our careers. And no kidding early on when we said no kidding, stake in the sand, here’s our definition of success. Everything goes back to that definition," he explained.
"When you start getting pulled into multiple directions and the Air Force is dangling those carrots, you have to take your pride and your ego, put it in a drawer over here and go right back to the family unit. And that’s what’s going to keep you grounded, and that’s what I think keeps us grounded,” Rob continued.
“We’ll stick it out as long as they will let us,” Beth said, “We would like to continue serving for the near future.
"But, at some point, the Air Force does have its requirements and its needs. And so we just have to kind of look at that and balance. But our goal is to serve as long as we can.”
As for advice for “... joint couples out there," Rob said, "it’s not easy. By no stretch of the imagination is it easy. It’s a long road, but it’s worth it at the end.”
Proving that love does, in fact, conquer all.
The Makroses now have been married 18 years.
And each has 20 years of service.