military proposalJerrel Revels, a sailor on the USS New Mexico, was already excited about returning home after six months aboard, but the submariner made the day even more special for his boyfriend Dylan Kirchner. As reported by the Associated Press on August 13, Jerrel greeted Dylan with a marriage proposal in front of about 200 people who gathered at the Navy’s submarine base.

Kirchner was happy to see his boyfriend and was even more surprised by the proposal, especially in front of an audience. Kirchner, who lives in Plainfield, Connecticut, tells The Day of New London that the day was totally unexpected.

“It kind of tickled my mind every now and then that (he would propose) but I never expected this. I didn’t really care everybody was around. It felt just like the two of us.”

The proposal comes two years after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, a bill passed in 1993 banning openly gay service members from the U.S. military and the proposal also comes three years after gay marriage became legal in the state of Connecticut.

The happy couple have not set a date yet for their wedding and is taking the time to enjoy each other and their engagement now that his new fiancé is home after being away for six months.

Kirchner and Revels are one of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples in the active-duty military as estimated by Defense officials.