Key Spouse Program helps take care of mission at home

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
F. E. Warren's mission separates Airmen from their families for days at a time. Missile field Airmen deploy in place weekly, and many still have families who rely on them.

"Our base has a high operations tempo, but Airmen are still responsible for their obligations to family," said Bob Frohnapfel, F. E. Warren Key Spouse Program coordinator. "The Key Spouse Program helps provide a support network for their family."

The Key Spouse Program is a commander's program that establishes a communication network between leadership and families at all organizational levels in order to promotes individual, family and unit readiness; build strong Air Force communities; establish continuous contact with Airmen and their families; multiply the force; support base leadership; and increase awareness of formalized support services, Frohnapfel said.

Each unit on base has its own Key Spouse Program tailored to their needs, he said.

When Airmen and their families have issues, there are many agencies from which to seek help.

"I don't think the base lacks in support agencies," Frohnapfel said. "The challenge is letting people know what's available when they need it."

The Key Spouse Program helps keep families aware of events and programs that Airmen would usually hear about from their first sergeants, he explained.

"Most first sergeants are open to family members coming to them, but family members don't always feel comfortable going to them -- they would rather go to a peer," he said. "There's always someone who needs help, and it's good for them to have someone approachable to go to."

When new military spouses run into problems, Key Spouse mentors within the program are available to provide guidance drawn from their experiences as a military spouse, Frohnapfel said.

"For instance, a new spouse might not understand the importance of working on a Saturday to prepare for an inspection," Frohnapfel said. "Key Spouse mentors can help explain the importance."

Master Sgt.Tracy Wallace, 90th Maintenance Group first sergeant, helps find spouses willing to join the Key Spouses Program for her unit.

"I look for spouses with heart, who are squared away and who really care about others in their unit," she said.

As a first sergeant, part of Wallace's job is to look after Airmen in her unit. She said the Key Spouse Program helps with that goal and is something she cares about.

"The Key Spouse Program helps me make sure the family members are taken care of," she explained. "The better we take care of the family, the more the service member can focus on the mission."

Within the Key Spouse Program, spouses who are married to Airmen of any rank can be involved at varying levels of responsibility, she said.

Involvement of spouses at every level is important to the success of the Key Spouse Program, Frohnapfel said.

Those interested in the Key Spouse Program can contact their spouse's first sergeant or Frohnapfel at 307-773-5941.