Our Family, Our Community, Our Mission

  • Published
  • By Col. David Haase
  • 86th Logistics Readiness Group Commander
After a busy holiday season, many of us are looking forward to the challenges and opportunities a new year offers. That makes this is a great time to take a few moments to think about how you can support our military families by making the Kaiserslautern Military Community an even better place to live, work and play.

When we talk about mission success, we must talk about the family, key spouse networks, sponsors, volunteers and many other contributors. Simply put, the support our family receives from the community is just as important as the formal command programs that focus on our military members. Following are a few examples of individuals that help build a community which supports military families and results in motivated and focused Airmen ready to accomplish the mission.

Airman 1st Class Zach Bach, a knowledge management operator for the logistics readiness group, has volunteered in support of no less than 12 organizations and contributed nearly 600 hours of community service. From serving as an Assistant Scout Master with the Boy Scouts, to supporting Project Rudolph and Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving, he makes a difference each and every day.

Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jensen, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight Chief, leads a team of 244 vehicle maintainers that have the huge job of keeping Team Ramstein's nearly 1,900 vehicles mission ready. Despite his demanding work schedule, he finds time to support Special Olympics as a translator, reception coordinator and participant "buddy." Just last month, when the 86th Airlift Wing needed a leader to step up to help plan the annual awards ceremony, Jensen answered the call. This leader makes a difference across our community by supporting our Airmen, our mission and our families.

Maj. Ken Benton is commander of the 86th Munitions Squadron, but he and his wife Tobi believe command is a team effort. They know the best way to make the mission happen is to focus on people and families first; Tobi plays a critical role in this plan. Creating and maintaining an active key spouse program is only one example of their unified approach.
Benton recognized the importance of this commander's program and gave it his highest level of attention and support from day one, but at the same time Tobi knew a key spouse program might need a spouse's perspective. She attended the four-hour key spouse training course at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center and has willingly taken on the role of key spouse mentor.

In addition to focusing on the needs of the unit's deployed families, the Bentons also hoped the key spouse program could impact spouses and families who are making the
86th Munitions Squadron their first Air Force home after technical training. Keeping this in mind, Tobi created a spouse welcome letter that is sent by the sponsor to every married member assigned to the unit. The letter is full of helpful information and provides a link to the squadron spouses' Facebook page. This allows new spouses to connect with other unit spouses and lay the groundwork for a smooth transition before they even arrive. The 86th MUNS currently has two super-star key spouses, AJ Haro-Bousa and Sonta Lafferty, who together perform two critical tasks. First, they ensure families of deployed members are contacted, connected and cared for and second, they maintain the Facebook page and make sure it's up to date with all the latest unit and KMC info.

With the constant stressors of military life, we need a community that is responsive enough to support a very diverse group of Airmen and their families. While no single person can do it all, we can each make a difference for ourselves, our families and our communities. It is about everyone making a contribution to support our invaluable military families who work hard every day to ensure their Airmen are ready to accomplish the mission.

Thanks to everyone for what you do each and every day. Your involvement makes a big difference.