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Strong Bonds: "A marriage seminar for those who hate marriage seminars"

Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin, a security forces specialist with the 130th Security Forces Squadron, 130th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, Charleston, W.Va. and his wife, Staff Sgt. Pauline Rankin, a supply technician with the 130th Logistics Squadron pose for a portrait in the 130th AW Public Affairs photography studio, Jan. 9. The staff sergeants joined the unit, Jan. 8, 2011. 

Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin, a native of Huntington, W.Va., who separated from the 130th SFS in November 2007, to be with his wife, a native of Greenoch, Scotland, who was on active duty at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England at the time, said he’s happy to be back in uniform. 

The staff sgts. come to the unit from Fort Riley, Kansas, where Staff Sgt. Pauline Rankin was stationed as a supply liaison for a Tactical Air Control Party unit assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron. 

Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin will complete security forces refresher training and weapons requalification at the unit. The staff sergeants have been married for four years.

Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin, a security forces specialist with the 130th Security Forces Squadron, 130th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, Charleston, W.Va. and his wife, Staff Sgt. Pauline Rankin, a supply technician with the 130th Logistics Squadron pose for a portrait in the 130th AW Public Affairs photography studio, Jan. 9. The staff sergeants joined the unit, Jan. 8, 2011. Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin, a native of Huntington, W.Va., who separated from the 130th SFS in November 2007, to be with his wife, a native of Greenoch, Scotland, who was on active duty at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England at the time, said he’s happy to be back in uniform. The staff sgts. come to the unit from Fort Riley, Kansas, where Staff Sgt. Pauline Rankin was stationed as a supply liaison for a Tactical Air Control Party unit assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron. Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Rankin will complete security forces refresher training and weapons requalification at the unit. The staff sergeants have been married for four years.

Charleston, W.Va. -- The 130th Airlift Wing chaplain's office held a free marriage conference, open to all unit members, Feb. 11-13, at the Appalachian Inn in Winterplace, W.Va.

Strong Bonds is a chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening family ties.

Chap. (Maj.) John P. McDonough, with 130th AW chaplain's office, used "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" curriculum by author Mark Gungor.

Tech. Sgt. James E. Westfall, an information specialist with the 130th AW, said it helped him understand how his wife thinks.

"Some couples aren't always on the same page," said Elizabeth J. Coffey, Director of Psychological Health for the 130th AW.

"One thinks that one is making an effort, but the other person isn't seeing that effort because it's not what they think love is," said Coffey.

Coffey gave the "Five Love Languages," training--how to express love to your spouse in a way that your spouse can understand.

The training was based on a book of the same name, by Dr. Gary Chapman.
Coffey said she saw some good communication going on between spouses.

The weekend included free time so couples could enjoy snow skiing and ice fishing.

Staff Sgt. William J. Hinamon, a photographer with the 130th AW public affairs office, said that he and his wife enjoyed skiing together without having to worry about their children, who spent the weekend with grandparents.

Senior Master Sgt. Steven A. Martin, a human resources advisor with the 130th AW, said Gungor covered what sex means to a marriage by combining seriousness with a sense-of-humor.

Members and their spouses took Gungor's on-line personality test, which helps one see how they succeed in life, what motivates them the most, and how they differ from the people close to them.

Chap. (1st Lt.) Bryan W. Knight, a chaplain with the 130th Airlift Wing, said he and his wife found the Flag Page Test was a great tool to help them acknowledge their differences.

Staff Sgt. Hinamon said, Strong Bonds taught him that even after 14 years of marriage, he and his wife were still learning about each other's personal motivations.

The 130th AW plans to hold three Strong Bonds in 2012, once funding is approved by the National Guard Bureau, said Tech. Sgt. Shane M. McComas, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of chaplain's assistants at the 130th AW.

"We've had some great support from our upper leadership to perform this," he said.

Tech. Sgt. Westfall said it was the second Strong Bonds he had attended, and that he would definitely attend again. "It's been a lot of fun," he said.

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