HomeNewsFeatures

Feature Search

Get to know key spouses: Ammie Welch and Rachel Wright, 90th CES

Key Spouse Graphic. (U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter/Released)

Key Spouse Graphic. (U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter/Released)

Rachel Wright, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron key spouse, poses for a photo on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 5, 2015. Wright supports 90th CES Airmen’s families, especially during deployments, by sharing information and acting as a liaison between military leaders and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jason Wiese)

Rachel Wright, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron key spouse, poses for a photo on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Aug. 5, 2015. Wright supports 90th CES Airmen’s families, especially during deployments, by sharing information and acting as a liaison between military leaders and family members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jason Wiese)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- To achieve its mission of defending America with the world's premier, combat-ready ICBM force, the Mighty Ninety develops, trains and empowers both Airmen and their families.

The 90th Civil Engineer Squadron has two key spouses to help reach CE families: Rachel Wright, spouse of Master Sgt. Don Wright, 90th CES engineering apprentice, and Ammie Welch, spouse of Staff Sgt. Chad Welch, 90th CES non-commissioned officer-in-charge of electrical power production.

With more than 25 years of combined Air Force life experience, Welch and Wright offer their knowledge and support to families to help the 90th CES commander build a strong, high-morale force whose families can endure the hardships of deployment and daily Air Force stressors.

"You need the ability to listen and not judge," Wright said. "You need the ability to have empathy toward other spouses and the situations they face."

They help spouses understand how to read leave and earnings statements, navigate the military healthcare system, understand the services offered to them on base and with anything else they can, Wright said. They also offer 90th CES families moral support in their times of trouble by offering advice gained from their experience with the Air Force.

Airmen fulfill variety of roles in the 90th CES, including firefighters, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, entomologists, cartographers as well as readiness and emergency management team members among other jobs.

Being able to relate to spouses married to Airmen who perform similar missions often helps key spouses bridge the gap between the Air Force and families, but given the variety within the CES, Welch and Wright do not always have that benefit. However, they said they do not feel daunted by the challenge of supporting Airmen's families who have very different Air Force experiences.

Welch and Wright support spouses of deployed Airmen, providing common ground to bond no matter the Airmen's career fields, Welch said.

"Every job within civil engineering is different, but your [spouse] is still leaving, you're still going through the same emotions," she said. "My husband was deployed six times, so I know what it feels like to be alone and how to deal with it."

Murphy's Law can come into play when spouses deploy. Vehicles break down, children get sick and paperwork gets lost. In times like these, Airmen's families need to know, "You'll be okay. Let's figure out what you're going through and what you need to do to take care of it," Welch said.

Part of being able to support the families is building rapport with them before Airmen deploy.

To accomplish this, the CES key spouses arrange get-togethers for deployed Airmen's families, Welch said. Spouses of non-deployed Airmen prepare meals for spouses of deployed Airmen so they can be around people who understand their struggles, and provide crafts for children to give the parents a break.

Both key spouses expressed a strong desire to help others who can benefit from their combined experience.

"There needs to be a connectedness, an ability to come up to people and say, 'Hey, I need some help. Something happened and I'm not quite sure where to go to get this fixed,'" Wright said, "and there needs to be people who are willing to help them do that."