Career Focus: Key spouses have connection power

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- Have you ever thought about the number of people who make Team Kirtland's missions happen? Airmen are launching fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and training to be, or serving as aircrews. There are pararescuemen learning and practicing warrior and healing arts. There are brilliant scientists testing and developing weapon systems. Finally, there is a cast of support personnel who make Team Kirtland run seamlessly every day. Yet, we sometimes forget a powerful force behind our Air Force -- spouses.

Spouses here have a voice. They are formally represented by a small group known as key spouses. Key spouses help squadron commanders and first sergeants resolve problems. They often serve behind the scenes communicating and connecting with other spouses. This group may be small and relatively unknown, but their impact is big. Unfortunately, their number remains small due to some myths:

Myth 1 -- Key spouses are only for units that deploy frequently.

Myth 2 -- Key spouses have to fix all problems.

Myth 3 -- The key spouse program is a glorified wives' club.

Myth 4 -- Units can only have one key spouse.

Myth 5 -- Key spouses must be women.

Pamela Reeves, a community readiness consultant at the Airman Family and Readiness Center, manages the key spouse program here. She has waged war against these misunderstandings.

In her words, "The Key Spouse Program helps military spouses experience connection, community and communication with each other and with unit leadership. Key spouses network with each other, commanders and first sergeants. They help bridge the gap that can exist between units and families."

As our Air Force gets smaller, the need for key spouses will continue to grow. All spouses are invited to serve and make a difference. They help commanders understand family concerns. Appointed by commanders, key spouses serve for one or two years. They should have service-oriented hearts. They must also be willing to step out of their comfort zones to assist all squadron spouses. Finally, key spouses bring connection power to life. It is through their connections that problems get solved, people get involved, and our units get strengthened.

If you have questions about the program or would like to serve as a key spouse contact Mrs. Reeves at 853-1707. You can also contact your spouse's commander or first sergeant.

See you in the wings!