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Graduation surprise... an engagement ring

Marriage proposal during AMOC graduation

2nd Lt. Jacob Onyechi, right, struggles to remove a box containing an engagement ring as 2nd Lt. Olufunmilayo Akinlosotu anxiously waits for the impending question at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 14, 2018. Onyechi developed an elaborate plan to surprise Akinlosotu during her graduation from the 363rd Training Squadron's Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course. The two first met while they were in the Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

Marriage proposal during AMOC graduation

2nd Lt. Olufunmilayo Akinlosotu, left, reacts as 2nd Lt. Jacob Onyechi proposes after she graduated the 363rd Training Squadron's Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 14, 2018. Onyechi surprised his now-fiance by showing up in mess dress for the occasion when she believed he wasn't going to be able to make the trip from Eglin AFB, Florida, in time. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

2nd Lt. Jacob Onyechi surprised girlfriend 2nd Lt. Olufunmilayo Akinlosotu by showing up to her graduation from Sheppard Air Force Base's Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course Dec. 14, 2018 and proposing to her.

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Second Lt. Olufunmilayo Akinlosotu stepped forward as the last graduate of Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course Class 180910 here Dec. 14, another significant milestone in the officer’s young Air Force career.

Everything was going according to plan – except for her boyfriend, 2nd Lt. Jacob Onyechi, who could not be there to celebrate the occasion. He was not going to be able to make the trip from Eglin AFB, Florida, in time for the ceremony.

Or so she thought.

Sneaking in from a side door behind Akinlosotu, the 6-foot-1 Onyechi, wearing his mess dress uniform for the special occasion, made his way behind the unsuspecting graduate and lightly tapped her on the shoulder. The Seattle, Washington-native had a look of bewilderment upon seeing Onyechi standing there, and especially realizing he seemed to be overdressed for a technical training graduation.

Onyechi, of the 96th Test Wing's 780th Test Squadron, pulled open the left side of his coat and reached for an object in the inside pocket. Whether it was nerves or the bulkiness of the object, it took a few more seconds than planned for the former Air Force Academy football player to remove a box, drop to a knee and ask for Akinlosotu’s hand in marriage.

“I was in shock and I still am in shock,” Akinlosotu said after the graduation. “I’m still kind of shaking.”

Onyechi said the couple had been dating for more than two years, and he decided about a year ago Akinlosotu was the woman he wanted to marry. He said he considered popping the question when she graduated from the academy in May, but decided to wait. The AMOC graduation presented another opportunity to propose and include his Air Force family.

The Sugar Land, Texas-native said it was important for him to include the Air Force in his proposal plans because, after all, it has been the service and the academy that “formed and shaped a lot of who I am today.”

“I felt it would be a really good opportunity to share this big experience with the Air Force, because I met her at the academy,” he said.

A wedding date is not set yet as the newness of the proposal has yet to wear off. But given their life together to this point, the wedding day is almost certain to have shades of blue.

“One way or another, I’m sure almost half the people at the wedding will be people from the Air Force, because we’ve met so many close friends all throughout the years,” Onyechi said.