Get to know key spouses: 90th SFS

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This article is the first of an ongoing series of articles that will introduce key spouses from the various squadrons within the 90th Missile Wing.

Almost everyone has been there. Entering new, unfamiliar places, with unfamiliar faces, can cause confusion and uncertainty about the future.

This is especially true for the families of Airmen at a new duty station -- something to which Aimee Mullins, 90th Security Forces Squadron key spouse, can attest.

Mullins and her husband, Staff Sgt. John Mullins, 90th SFS investigations, arrived to the base approximately four years ago. They came from Tarpon Springs, Fla., so they had to adjust to a very different climate and a different way of life.

"He wasn't in the military prior to us being here, this is our first base," Mullins said. "It's a little bit of a culture shock. It wasn't just a difference geographically; it was a different culture. At least the military members have boot camp and [technical] school to get them acclimated to military life."

This unfamiliarity with life in the military is the reason the Key Spouse Program is so important, she said.

The Key Spouse Program offers formal peer-to-peer wingman family support. Key spouses are volunteers who represent their spouses' squadrons. They work with commanders and first sergeants and act as a liaison between Airmen's families and the military, especially when Airmen deploy.

Mullins, Kayla Dansby and Christina Hebert form the trio of key spouses for the 90th Security Forces Squadron.

"As a key spouse, I am a link between leadership and the families," said Kayla Dansby, who also serves as a 90th Force Support Squadron accounting technician. "I also create communication with families to be their supporter for day-to-day events, for births, deployments and other hardships that may transpire."

Being a new person at one point gave Mullins the perspective to know how important it is for there to be someone family members can relate to, she said.

"My primary duty is to ensure the spouses in the 90th SFS, either incoming or those who have been here awhile, have access to the resources they need while their spouse is deployed or while dealing with day-to-day issues that come about," she said.

Mullins said key spouses help disseminate information about the unit that might affect Airmen's families and about local resources families might need for their daily lives.

Key spouses undergo annual and intermittent training to ensure they are up-to-date on the information they pass along to families, Hebert said.

"They really give us a lot of tools to deal with a lot of situations at the very lowest level," she said.

Squadrons leadership selects key spouses and guide their activities for the organizations.

Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Swidecki, 90th SFS first sergeant, recalled when the 90th SFS chose its current key spouses.

Late in 2014, the 90th SFS had no key spouses, and not having any available for family members could hinder the mission. Swidecki and Maj. Amy Rivera, 90th SFS commander, chose three new key spouses at once, Swidecki said.

Fortunately, Rivera and Swidecki's top three choices -- Mullins, Dansby and Hebert -- all accepted the invitation to be key spouses, he said.

Mullins attributed the reason she was selected to her involvement in the squadron over the years.

"We've always made it a point to reach out to new security forces [families]," Mullins said.

"I became a key spouse mainly because I wanted to be more involved in my husband's career," Dansby said. "I realized if I didn't, I was missing out on an opportunity that could benefit other families and increase communication that is vital for leadership and families."

Swidecki said the key spouses perform very well. They hold events to boost morale and share important information with Airmen's families.

For example, recently, key spouses from the 90th Security Forces Group squadrons (90th SFS, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, 790th MSFS and 90th Security Support Squadron), collaborated on a bowling night for security forces families at the F.E. Warren Bowling Center.

Sometimes it can be awkward for family members trying to contact the official squadron leadership, Swidecki said.

"To me, it provides a conduit for the spouses to contact, [to] reach out to somebody who's just like them," he said.

Mullins continues to work with her fellow key spouses as the bridge between families and the military so families can support their Airmen and the mission.

"It's a really good feeling," she said. "Being able to be that resource makes me feel I'm contributing to the mission as well as my husband."

Hebert wants Air Force families who might be apprehensive about seeking assistance from a key spouse to know that key spouses are committed to meeting their needs, she said.

"The thing that I would most like people to know is that it's not what they're expecting," she said. "We're not a social club. We really are a resource and we really are there to be a friend within the unit."