Military spouse support strengthens NATO defense in Eastern Europe

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melody W. Howley
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Resilience is the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress. No career puts more of a demand on that ability than military life – not just for those who wear a uniform or serve in the ranks, but also for their family members.

At the beginning of Eastern European contingency operations, the 52nd Fighter Wing sent aircraft and personnel to bolster the readiness and NATO defense postures in Romania, leaving behind spouses and family members unsure of the future.

As foreign military activity increased and many unknowns made news headlines, spouses naturally turned to social media with questions and concerns. To alleviate the growing tension and provide a venue for connectedness, the 52nd FW Community Action Team planned and hosted a deployed spouse support event.

“We heard about a need for spouses to come together and knew we needed to make this event happen,” said Ginny Wescott, 52nd FW violence prevention integrator and event host. “Our wing leadership team are firm believers in supporting our members and their families. They saw there was a concern in our community due to current events and jumped into action right away.”

Leaders at all levels must create protective environments that encourage help-seeking and equip Airmen and family members with the resources needed to meet life’s stressors. Col. Leslie Hauck, 52 FW commander, led by example providing a question-and-answer session, before opening the floor to group and squadron commanders, 12 support agencies, first sergeants and spouses to introduce themselves.

“Our leadership wants our Airmen and families to know we are here for them, and a big way to do that is to talk in person,” said Jeanne Morrow, 52 FW community support coordinator and event host.

Air Force leaders have always recognized it is the families who strengthen the force with their support and resilience, while managing the home front during times like long training exercises and deployments. As a wing within U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa, Saber Nation provides expeditionary air power for capabilities like the suppression of adversary defenses, close-air support, air interdiction, counter air, air strike control, strategic attack, combat search and rescue, and theater airspace control. Often, this heightened NATO support can pull service members from the home multiple times a year with little to no notice.

​“Mental health, military-family life counselors, and our chaplains are great resources for mental health care,” said Wescott. “I think military spouses are unsung heroes. Many people do not realize how much sacrifice it takes to be a military spouse. We want to make sure our spouses and families are always taken care of.”

Military service demands exceptional resiliency from service members and families by building a culture of support and establishing a life-long relationship with support programs and care solutions.

For spouses and family members wanting more information regarding on-base resources, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 06565 61 6422 or DSN 452-6422.

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