Tag Archives: family support

Tweet chat: Mrs. Betty Welsh, Nov. 15, 2012

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Recently, Betty Welsh, the Air Force Chief of Staff’s wife, sat down to answer a few questions for an Air Force spouse tweet chat, focusing on the Air Force family.

Question: What’s it like to be the CSAF’s wife?

Answer: Awesome, surreal, stressful, exciting, overwhelming and spectacular.

Question: What do you plan to do to make tomorrow’s Air Force better than today’s?

Answer: Making sure we take care of our Airmen and families and educating them on available programs. I plan to communicate with Airmen and families and develop programs that cater to resiliency and retainment.

Question: I’m in the psychology field dedicated to soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Have you had to deal with any of that on your end?

Answer: We’ve come a long way in recognizing those suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The Air Force is working hard on programs to help our wounded warriors deal with these challenging issues.

Question: Mrs. Amos recently came out with a suggested reading list for military families. Is there one for USAF families in the works?

Answer: Yes! The list will be available the first week in December, and many of the items on Mrs. Amos’ list will be applicable to Air Force families.

Question: What are some resources for Air Force spouses with careers?

Answer: White House Joining Forces Initiative and the Military Spouses Employment Program are two resources I would encourage spouses to utilize. The MSEP encourages companies to hire military spouses and is available to all military spouses in all services. For more information, visit MSEP.

Question: Is Tactical Air Control Party a challenging job to get into?

Answer: Yes, TACP is very challenging, both physically and mentally. For more information, contact your local recruiter or visit the Air Force Recruiting Facebook page here.

Question: If somebody told you they were considering the Air Force, what would you recommend to them?

Answer: If somebody told me they were considering joining the Air Force, I would tell them they won’t find a better service to be a part of.

Question: What is the biggest challenge facing Air Force spouses today?

Answer: The biggest challenge I see is managing families and careers with the increased operations tempo of today’s military to include deployments.

Question: With the recent changes to basic military training, will there be more focus on strengthening military training instructor families? More kid friendly marriage retreats?

Answer: There are many recommendations that are coming out of the BMT review, and we are looking at all of them and how to best implement. Our goal is to make a healthy environment for all.

Question: Being a military family, how has social media helped you stay connected with friends and family?

Answer: It’s a great tool and makes it much easier to stay connected with family and friends. With our busy lifestyles, it is very easy to stay connected with many people by simply jumping online.

Question: A lot of off-base fitness centers have free or low cost childcare. Do you think something similar could be implemented on base?

Answer: Yes, it’s something we are very seriously looking at. Where there is space, we have established mother/child fitness rooms; however, because we are not able to build new facilities, we are trying to do the best we can with our current facilities.

Year of the Air Force Family–Deployed perspective

Over the past week, in recognition of Year of the Air Force Family, we’ve been bringing you a number of different perspectives about military life and how it relates to our active duty Airmen and their families. Today’s post comes to us from SMSgt. Rex Temple, who writes a blog called Afghanistan: My Last Tour. SMSgt Temple has been writing about his missions and deployed life via his blog and on Twitter (follow @afghanistanlast). In his post below, he talks about how much the Air Force Family has meant to him and his wife.

SMSgt Rex Temple. Source: http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/
SMSgt Rex Temple. Source: http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/

While I am on the other side of the world embedded with the Afghan National Army and trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, on the other side of the world is a special person who faces different challenges and performs a daily juggling act.  This person is none other than my loving wife.  Prior to us meeting, she was an Emmy award-winning journalist who often produced stories about military families and the stressors of deployment.  At that time, she really didn’t understand the concept of the military family but she would air the warm-hearted stories anyhow.  Now that we are married, I have introduced her to my Air Force family and with my yearlong deployment she is experiencing first-hand what she couldn’t truly appreciate when she first interviewed those resilient military spouses and children.

Overnight, she became the accountant, the cook, the mechanic, the house cleaner, the handyman and the caregiver to our furry children Charlie and Sammy.  Prior to this deployment we shared these responsibilities, but now she has to perform a circus act and balance this with a fulltime job too.  Often the news media or I will depict in my blog www.Afghanistanmylasttour.com the sacrifices military members make while being deployed and the luxuries we long to have.  But the families we leave behind make tremendous sacrifices too and my wife is no different.

It’s not just deployments, but frequent PCS moves, moving household goods, changing spouse’s jobs, uprooting children and

SMSGt Temple and wife Liisa. Source: http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/
SMSGt Temple and wife Liisa. Source: http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/

enrolling them in new schools and shipping family pets can be disruptive to military family’s lives.  Fortunately the Air Force recognizes the sacrifices military families make and provides a supporting foundation and a plethora of tools and resources to help lessen the pain.  The Airman and Family Readiness Center is like Grand Central Station and provides an array of services beneficial to the Airman and family members.  The Fitness Center is a great place to shed some pounds or maintain a healthy physique.  The Education Center is invaluable especially since the 9/11 GI Bill has been enacted.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great savings when we shop at AAFES and commissary facilities.  Lastly, my favorite is traveling Space-Available to Alaska, Hawaii or foreign countries and staying at FAM camps and lodges to indulge myself during a vacation.  At MacDill AFB, I can even rent a boat and get away from reality while fishing for shark, snapper, and grouper.  These are only a handful of resources the Air Force offers to its members and their families.

Despite being in a combat zone in Afghanistan, my spouse is free to enjoy all of the activities I mentioned above without me.  My Air Force family has embraced her with both arms.  Should something tragic happen to me, I have an inner peace knowing my Air Force family will always be there for my wife.

Celebrating the Air Force Family

Year of the Air Force Family Week wrapped up last week, but the Year of the Air Force Family events will be ongoing until summer of 2010. To further recognize the Air Force family we’ve got a couple of additional posts to present this week.

Here is a link to a blog post from Robin Paoli, a.k.a. one of the people who runs @MilitaryTweets on Twitter. Robin has been a big supporter of the military branches and has taken a lot of time to talk to people involved in the military and other branches of the government. She is helping spread the word and provide details about the work that people are doing to share their story, particularly with social media.

A child’s first steps caught on camera for a deployed parent, a son in Afghanistan making a comic video poking gentle fun at his father’s birthday, a dad in Iraq telling his son “I love you”… we’ve been privileged to share these special moments and many more while helping manage the TroopTube video web site.

In the blog post Robin talks to Capt. Chris Sukach, Chief of Emerging Technology for the Air Force Public Affairs Agency about the importance of connecting families and how new media tools are helping enable that goal. So while you’re thinking of our service members, both deployed and on the home front, remember the families as well and think about the sacrifices they’ve made.