Married for eight years, Jennifer Bettelyoun was about to have the dream wedding she and hubby Marty Bettelyoun missed the first time around. After a quick romance, the couple were married by a justice of the peace just before Marty, a special operations airman, was posted to a base in England. "If I was going to go with him, we had to get married quickly," Jennifer says. "We woke up on a Tuesday morning and he said, 'Want to get married today?' I said, 'Yeah sure, let's do it.' That was it." But recently, at sunset on a beach near the couple's Florida home, Marty proposed to Jennifer again and the couple planned to renew their vows in "a huge wedding on the beach," Jennifer tells NBC News. Tragedy intervened. Marty, a father of five, was one of two airmen killed during training at Eglin Air Force Base on Aug. 3.
Though an investigation is ongoing, Jennifer says Marty and Timothy Officer Jr. apparently "hit helmet to helmet" during a routine free-fall jump. "He gave me fair warning before we got married, telling me he would never be home, always be on the road and he had a very dangerous job," his wife says. But that doesn't make coping with his loss any easier. Jennifer says her only son "is just torn up," while her youngest daughter is "crying herself to sleep." Still, she takes solace in the many friends Marty left behind. "Even after we were married with five kids, if we went on a date I'd be scared of going to the bathroom because I knew that by the time I came back I'd be on a date with the whole bar," she says. "We will stay strong," she adds. "It is what Marty would have done and what he would have wanted."