Key spouses: supporting a home away from home

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The 76th Airlift Squadron key spouses are a fully integrated group involved in all facets of the squadron and play a crucial role in the sponsorship program and greeting new team members that come to Ramstein Air Base, explains Lt. Col. John Field, 76th AS commander.

“They are the moms I don’t have out here,” expressed 1st Lt. Samantha Waltz, 76th AS C-21 pilot.

The 76th AS key spouses help with squadron and morale events regularly, and Feed the Doves is one of many events they put together. The event takes place monthly at the squadron and includes a team breakfast.

“Over the last couple of years we have really focused on bringing everyone back together,” said Eleanor Field, 76th AS key spouse mentor and spouse club president. “We wanted to provide the team with ways to reconnect through socialization and developing relationships where they feel comfortable to reach out and ask for help.”

The 76th AS booster club and key spouses work together to fund and host events that best accommodate the diversity of members within the squadron.

“I’ve only been here for about three months, but the spouses put together events that make me feel welcomed,” explained Airman 1st Class Jeremiah Walker, 76th AS squadron aviation resource management craftsman. “I appreciate the extra steps they take to make me feel more at home.”

The Air Force key spouse program is an official unit family readiness program designed to establish a sense of community and enhance readiness.

“Being unaccompanied on a first assignment away from family can be isolating, but they’re always here to remind us of family and be our home away from home,” shared Waltz.

They also created group chats where active duty and dependents can openly communicate needs or wants.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable reaching out and not being afraid to ask for help,” Eleanor said. “This is why we’ve created different group chats – so if someone needs a jump, a ride, or anything, they can reach out and know someone will answer.”

According to Eleanor, focusing on communication and accountability within the 76th AS team is a big part to creating an environment of family and community.

“Our current key spouses embody the family philosophy and work very hard to make sure that every Airmen and Family member feels connected and part of the team,” said Lt. Col. Field. “I am humbled to have the support of all our spouses and they are a huge part of the family and I cannot thank them enough for everything that they do.”