Readiness from a spouse's perspective

  • Published
  • By Tanya Saenz
  • 65th Logistics Readiness Squadron Key Spouse
As a key spouse within the 65th Logistics Readiness Squadron, I experience every day what it means to be part of a leading team in this always changing world of an Air Force spouse.

Air Force spouses have a vocabulary of acronyms only few people understand--PCS, TDY, OHA, COLA and ORI--just to name a few. Mission readiness might be a foreign concept to civilians, but it's part of our everyday life. We know mission readiness is key to success; for our airmen to be successful, we must also be mission ready and capable to lead at a moment's notice. The ability to take over all responsibilities on the homefront for an extended amount of time while our Airmen lead the charge somewhere around the world makes us warriors.

But mission readiness doesn't begin at the unit level; it begins with your family. The 65th LRS has hosted many family-oriented and family-fun activities. During an Operational Readiness Exercise in August, the spouses created an "ORE Bake-Off." The idea was to get goodies out to deploying warriors going through the processing line. We baked over 200 cookies, brownies and muffins for 80 people, personalizing each goody bag with encouraging sayings.

We designed a "Family Warrior Day," emphasizing fun and learning. The intention was to come together and train alongside our military spouses for one day and learn what they learn. Because it was all about having fun, the spouses created our own warrior outfits. We used old Battle Dress and Airman Battle Uniforms to create skirts and shorts.

Tech. Sgt. Albert Black's wife, Christi Black, created her own ABU flip flops. 

1st Lt. Sarah Thompson gave my son an old BDU set. Coupled with his Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe BDU hat from his dad, he was ready to take command.

Tech. Sgt. Fred Cowell's son, Freddie, came with a painted warrior face in his ABUs, which his parents had purchased and tailored in the states.

"He had a blast!" said Cowell. "He likes to see what his dad does, and loved participating in the training. He even did the interrogating!"

Families took part in the Self-Aid and Buddy Care and M-16 training, watched a working dog presentation, and some of our spouses even got the opportunity to experience the Mission Oriented Protective Posture, also known as MOPP gear. Our children were able to learn hands-on how to put out a small fire with the Lajes Field Fire Department.

The day culminated in a barbecue and awards presentation, and was made even more special with an ice cream social and face painting for the children. The day was a success, as reported by American Forces Network, Lajes, and kudos from wing leadership.

We've organized our own spouses' league bowling team, and earlier this month, 65th LRS spouses and Airmen united to form a squadron team for the Midnight Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. We hosted a family Spooky Spaghetti Dinner, complete with a mini walk-thru haunted house, and lots of food and games for the kids. There was such an abundance of food, we were able to feed our own 24-hour operations crews for the weekend. In October, the 65th LRS hosted our first Annual Family Sports Day, including kids' relay races, an egg toss, football, wallyball, basketball and tug-of-war. Prizes were awarded for first, second, and third place. It was a great day to come together and have a little competitive fun with our friends and family.

Recently, we teamed up with the key spouses from the 65th Contracting Flight. The small but mighty flight doesn't have the people to host family events on a grand scale, however, when our squadrons work together, we are able to put together first-class events that ensure our families know the goodness of Lajes.

We have many more events and functions planned for the future. This month 65th LRS will host the Wing Turkey Trot Run, have our annual Thanksgiving Dinner and close out the year with our holiday party. Next year looks even better for our squadron, with many joint Airman and spouse self-help projects, family functions and community involvement activities.

So, from a spouses's perspective, mission readiness doesn't start at the unit, it starts with our family; because as strong families, we are mission ready and "In the Fight." 65th LRS --we lead the rest!