Tag Archives: military spouse

My mother: the perfect military wife

By Jenna Stone

Editor’s note: In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day today and Mother’s Day on Sunday, we’re sharing a post from a friend of an Air Force Social Media Team member. The writer is the wife of an Air Force Reserve Airman at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

My dad proposed to my mom outside of the barracks on Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, following his graduation from Basic Military Training. It was a simple proposal, but to my mom it was a fairytale. Eight months later, Mark and Rose Mary were married in a small Catholic ceremony. My dad, in his stark and stunning dress blues, swept my mom off her feet. Her life would now be vastly different. She was now an Air Force wife.

Families eagerly await the return of their Airmen.

My mother knew nothing about the military lifestyle when she married my dad. She had lived most of her life up until then in the same house. Her family was well-known in their small, rural community. All of her friends and family were just minutes away, but after her first move to Big Spring, Texas, it seemed like they were lifetimes away.

Having your first baby is a huge life moment. Many people would not be able to imagine what it would be like to give birth to your first born while your husband is out of town. For many military wives, this is reality. My dad didn’t meet his first child until he was 1-month-old. Luckily, he was present for the birth of his second son, but only because he was on leave for two weeks from his one-year remote tour in Alaska. When my brother was only one-week-old, my dad had to say goodbye to his wife and two young sons once again. He would return after six more months in the frigid cold of Fairbanks, Alaska. During these times when my dad was away, my parents did their best to communicate. They wrote letters and sent a few pictures. They were even able to talk on the phone but not often and not for too long. It was the late 1970s, and long-distance phone calls were expensive.

Like most military wives, my mom is an excellent packer. Every few years she packed up her little family and everything they owned, and she followed my dad wherever he was sent. She didn’t like some of the places they lived. New Hampshire was too cold, and Big Spring was too far west. But the most difficult move was to England. I was born just a few months before the big overseas move. Living in a completely different country with two toddlers and a brand new baby can be overwhelming. My mother has said that the worst part was that she couldn’t see her family back in the states for three long years. Flying a family of five over the Atlantic Ocean was very expensive, so we stayed in England for the duration of the assignment. My parents wrote letters and sent home videos so my grandparents could watch us grow.

Even through constant moving and being away from her spouse was difficult, my mother embraced the military lifestyle. Our family lived on base everywhere we were stationed. My mom worked really hard to make our little duplex a loving home. She registered us for all kinds of activities on base. We went to the bowling alley every Saturday morning and the commissary every other week. We did summer camp at the youth center every year. My brothers and I had our own pool passes, and we were even allowed to ride our bikes to the pool after we got our IDs. Growing up on base was perfect.

Now that I am a military wife, I have so much more respect for my mom. She endured months of raising three young kids without her husband. She spent years away from her family without Skype or Face Time to communicate. She lived in all kinds of different places and had to leave old friends and learn to make new ones. And I never once heard her complain about it.

There is a special place in Heaven for military spouses. These people must move away from friends and family every few years, and sometimes adapt to new cultures. If they work outside of the home, they are forced to find a new job every three years. Many holidays and birthdays are spent alone while waiting for their spouse to return from TDY or deployment. Sometimes they can’t even watch the news out of fear of hearing about the troops in danger. Military spouses are strong, adaptable and above all, devoted to their family.

PHOTO: Families line the runway to welcome home members of the 389th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit. The unit returned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Sept. 21, 2011, after a deployment to Afghanistan.

Mrs. Welsh, Mrs. Roy chat about Air Force family, departure

By Othana Montoya
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

We held a tweet chat Tuesday with Mrs. Betty Welsh, wife of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, and Mrs. Paula Roy, wife of the former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James A. Roy, to answer questions about the Air Force family and Mrs. Roy’s departure. If you didn’t have a chance to watch the tweet chat, we have the discussion for you here.

Question: What are your goals for the Air Force family this year?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: My goals are that we take care of them in this time of uncertainty and that we keep our families informed and at the forefront of any decisions that may affect them.

Question: What do you think are the greatest challenges awaiting the AF family for 2013?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: Clearly understanding what is and is not happening in the budget environment and how it will affect our families. The majority of these cuts will not affect them immediately and the long term impact is difficult to access. Allowing us to examine those impacts and explain them to the families will be important. Keeping them informed and asking them to be patient so we can get them the information they need to be informed.

Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy

Question: What is your opinion on the current job/education availability for AF spouses?  Do you see any big changes coming to these programs?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: In 2012, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership and Hiring Our Heroes held 15 hiring fairs. Over 6,000 spouses have attended, reaping the benefit of over 30 different career workshops and presentations held by our government and nonprofit Alliance partners. 500 spouses have been hired.

Question: As your time as the CMSAF’s wife comes to a close, what was your greatest accomplishment & what are you most proud of?
Answer: Mrs. Roy: We have really worked hard to focus on families, key spouse, spouse courses, trips/visits, etc. The importance of a military member’s family is something I feel we cannot emphasize enough. Families provide the critical support needed to get the mission done. We probably have a way to go with this, but we definitely tried to put a great deal of focus on this.

Question: What words of wisdom do you wish to leave with our Airmen and families?
Answer: Mrs. Roy: You are amazing, and we are incredibly proud of you. We are in awe of what you accomplish every day. Our time serving as CMSAF has been a tremendous blessing for our whole family and something we will never forget. Continue to do great things because tomorrow’s Air Force will need your dedication and innovation more than ever.

Question: Did you see the female secret service agents protecting our President yesterday? Isn’t that wonderful?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy: We agree it is awesome to see women working in the protective service of the President. They all did an amazing job yesterday!

Question: What are the best/worst parts about your husbands working in such important and public positions?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy: The best part is being with the Airmen and their families. To me there was no worst part. The opportunity is so amazing that it makes up for the long hours and hardships.

Question: Have you started CrossFit yet? We discussed it while visiting RAF Mildenhall.
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: I have not tried CrossFit, but I sent my daughter and she loves it. I’ve decided to stick with yoga and running.

Question: What do you think of the USMC requiring admittance of partners of gay service members at spouse clubs?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: I would hope when we are talking about any club that supports our military spouses, they would be more inclusive than exclusive. Our Airmen and families deserve all the support we can give them.

Question: The Key Spouse program is a wonderful concept but needs some work AF wide, do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: It’s been an honor and a privilege to champion this program for the last 3.5 yrs. We hope as we continue to work this program that we will meet the needs across the AF of all AF families.

Question:  Does the Air Force put a strain on your relationships or at all put your family on hold?
Answer:  Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy: Yes, like every job does, but we try & focus on the wonderful opportunities meeting people & the exposure to different cultures. You can’t put your family on hold, you have to take care of the family & our AF responsibilities. It’s a constant balance.

Question: If you had to fill out a dream sheet of bases where you wanted to be stationed, what would be your top 5?
Answer: Mrs. Roy: I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Pacific theater… Although I’ve visited Europe, I’ve never lived there, so that is where I’d like to be stationed.
Mrs. Welsh: Anywhere in Texas, we had the opportunity to have a short tour there & loved being so close to family.

Question: How long have your husbands served?
Answer: CMSAF Roy 30.5 years and Gen. Welsh 36.5 years.

Question: What advice would you give to young Airmen with just over a year of service?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy: Be the best Airmen you can, and take advantage of every opportunity you can.  Be the best leader you can.

Question:  What are your goals for the Air Force family this year?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh: My goals are that we take care of them in this time of uncertainty & we keep our families informed and at the forefront of any decisions that may affect them.

Question: What does it mean to you to be a leader?
Answer: Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Roy: Our AF core values are a wonderful place to start. Integrity, service and excellence.

Question: What are you most looking forward to during your husband’s retirement? What’s next for your family?
Answer: Mrs. Roy: I want to continue to serve Airmen & their families as much as I can.  I will be joining the AFA team as their director of Airman & Family programs.  I look forward to continuing to support the great men & women who serve in our AF & their families.

Question: What advice would you give to a young aspiring woman wanting to join the Airmen?
Answer: Work hard in school and ensure you are mentally and physically ready to join the best team you could ever be a part of.

Closing: Mrs. Welsh: I want to close by thanking Mrs. Roy for her service & all she’s done for Airmen & their families. She’s truly been a team player & I’m thankful it’s not goodbye b/c she’ll always be in our hearts.

Photo: Mrs. Betty Welsh and Mrs. Paula Roy prepare for a tweet chat January 22, 2013.

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.

Week in Photos, Aug. 31, 2012

Week in Photos graphic

By Airman 1st Class Krystal Tomlin
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

As you enjoy this Week in Photos and the holiday weekend, remember you’re critical to the mission, so stay safe.

Whether you provide your serivice in uniform or as a family member it is absolutely invaluable. If you’re a citizen providing support to our troops, we couldn’t do it without you. As Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, said, “The nations military is only a strong as the support is recieves from its citizens.”

Happy Labor Day, everybody!

Photo: U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs at a U.S. Air Force Band concert at the Air Force Memorial in Washington D.C., Aug. 24, 2012. Throughout the summer months of June, July, and August, the band’s performing ensembles present free outdoor concerts at historic venues in our nation’s capital for Washington area residents, as well as for visitors from around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Brownlow)

Service – Pride – Sacrifice

Being in the Air Force means service, pride and sacrifice. To each Airman these words mean something different. To those who have families, it means knowing that your loved ones are taken care of when you are defending the nation’s freedom, spending time away from family and cherishing the moments you have together.

April is the Month of the Military Child, so let’s take a moment to thank our smallest warriors for the sacrifices they make and the strength they bring our servicemembers.