Air Force colonel shocks parents during surprise 50th wedding anniversary

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Ray Blanchette, 28-year Air Force veteran, and his wife, Betty, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Sumter, S.C., Nov. 15, but, according to the couples' expressions on their faces, was completely unexpected.

It was a surprise; an elaborate ruse concocted by Air Force Col. Wayne Blanchette's aunt, Sandy Blanchette, and family members who baited the couple with an invitation to their grand niece's 40th birthday celebration. But the icing on the cake came from Ray's and Betty's son, Wayne, after watching a deceiving video message shout out of him half way around the world when he sneaked in through a back door to spring the biggest surprise of the night.

His parents, overwhelmed with joy and tears in their eyes, embraced their son with expressions of shock and awe.

"It was so exciting to see him; just overwhelmed," said Betty.

Colonel Blanchette, who's currently serving his country on a two-year assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait as the Office of Military Cooperation vice chief, had been planning this unique encounter for the past three months.

"I was running one day and thought to myself, 'It might be a good idea to do a shout out,'" he said.

Colonel Blanchette said the idea went from being a simple gesture to wish his parents a happy anniversary to being a grand scheme to say it in person by working with his family to conceal his intention and by working with his leadership to get the time off to make it happen.

Though it was a lot of work to keep the surprise a secret, it worked as the parents were completely unaware.

"He said he was going to be out of contact for a while and I said no way," said Ray.

The surprise was an emotional moment for the whole family, especially for Colonel Blanchette himself.

"I usually don't see my parents cry so it was a little overwhelming," he said. "It was really special.

"You only get to celebrate one 50th anniversary," he said.