Even though the Key Spouse program has been around for over a decade now, not many people know about it or understand how it works. It is a commander sponsored program that tries to help spouses when they first gets to a new duty station or their loved one is deployed. Key Spouses help those spouses get the resources they need or points them in the direction of helping agencies like the Airman and Family Readiness Center(A&FRC) or the chaplain. They are assigned to every unit if there is a spouse willing to step up as, it is a volunteer position.
Each squadrons program may look different because it is designed by each individual commander. Some only focus on newcomers and deployed spouses while others have monthly social events. Some have Key Spouses look over the spouses that are in the same work area or shop or just divide then out randomly. Either way, they are still a vital resource to take a closer look at.
Why was this Program Created?
There is a saying that being a spouse is the hardest job in the Air Force and some people say “yeah but he or she is not deploying or working the long hours.” True but we have to deal with the child (or us) that is uncontrollable sad and lonely because they haven’t seen your servicemember in months and the constant search for jobs and friends. Don’t get me wrong they are both hard it’s just different kinds of hard. To help you deal with the difficulties of military life, your key spouse is there to help you and support you. This is especially true if you are new to the military and don’t understand how things work just yet. Your Key Spouse is the person that can tell you where to get copies if you don’t have your printer yet and tells you where to meet your spouse after a long deployment!
How They can Help you Personally
Even before you get to your new base, you can do a Facebook search for your spouses squadron and many times you’ll find a spouses page. If your squadron doesn’t have this, you can call the A&FRC or the squadron orderly room to ask who your Key Spouse is. If they don’t have a Key Spouse, you can get most of your information through the A&FRC or they can direct you to the right people. It is very important to find out what is going on in the squadron and base to help you adjust easier and get you connect (especially if you’re PCSing overseas).
The primary reason the program was created is to help the military spouse during all stages of the deployment. The Key Spouse will tell you when the pre-deployment briefing is. These are important to attend because they give you lots of information to use during the deployment and all of the base helping agencies are usually there to tell you what they offer. They can help you resolve issues during the deployment that
might will happen. It’s just not a deployment if nothing breaks and you don’t get violently ill….at the same time of course. Last, as I mentioned they let you know when your spouse comes back, as they are part of the official channel. They are also there for you after the deployment since there is a art to reacquainting to a person you haven’t seen in months. It is an exciting yet overwhelming time so this is the Air Force’s way of giving you a support system that has been where you’ve been.
I’m a Spouse Who’s Thinking of Becoming a Key Spouse
Do it! Try to think back to when you were new to the military. Was it difficult and overwhelming? Whether you figured it out on your own or met an experienced spouse that helped you, do you want to make that experience easier for new spouses or even older spouses that might be going through a difficult time? If you’re new to the military, you too can be an amazing Key Spouse. You are still fresh to what is difficult about this life and remember what it’s like better than us older spouses. Also, you get to learn about about all the resources the Air Force offers to the family members. If you have a heart for it and the time to spare, ask your servicemembers commander about the opportunity to help other spouses.
What has your experience been with Key Spouses?
Key Spouse Program- https://www.afpc.af.mil/Benefits-and-Entitlements/Key-Spouse-Program/