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NEWS | April 19, 2013

Spouses learn about 437th AMXS mission, JB Charleston

By Tech Sgt. Vernon Cunningham Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Spouses of the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron attended a mission tour sponsored by the unit's Key Spouse program April 10, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. The tour was set up to show 437th AMXS family members a small piece of what the Airmen in the squadron do each and every day.

The Key Spouse Program is made up of specially trained volunteers that promote individual, family and unit readiness. They promote the vital needs of spouses and provide an informal sounding board through an informal network as part of the leadership team in each unit.

The tour started with generic maintenance briefings. Then the spouses were taken to the flightline to watch a large formation launch. After that, the group toured support sections and interacted with some of the equipment AMXS personnel utilize to get the mission accomplished.

"The goal of this tour was to educate our family members on some of the most common things we do here on a daily basis," said 2nd Lt. Andrea Gehrman, 437 AMXS assistant officer in charge. "Many family members don't have the opportunity to come on the flightline to watch an aircraft launch or get a tour of maintenance equipment and the support sections. Without exposure to our culture, it can be difficult for family members to really understand what their servicemember does on a daily basis and all that is required of them to make the mission happen."

Gehrman said although they originally anticipated 15 to 25 adults with 10 children in attendance, they were thrilled to have more than 70 family members come to the event.

"The turnout definitely shows the interest of our family members to learn about our daily responsibilities as well as shows us the level of their support," said Gehrman.

Jessica Dawson, 437th AMXS key spouse, agreed with the impact of seeing the maintainer and support staff's impact on the Joint Base Charleston mission.

"AMXS is amazing!" said Dawson. "I didn't realize how much C-17s are used and their capabilities. It is still hard to encompass all the behind-the-scene steps that are crucial to go into getting the planes off the ground. I am truly proud to be an Air Force wife and a key spouse. Not only can I be there for my husband, but also my fellow spouses. We are all family."

The AMXS maintainers also gained positive results from the tour.

"I believe that an event such as this truly benefits us all," said Tech. Sgt. Willie Dawson, 437th AMXS maintainer. "I hope my wife, and other spouses, understand that the sacrifices their loved ones make are justified when they see what it helps to accomplish. Additionally, I would love for them to internalize the concept that they are just as important to the mission as we are.

"Having the home support is vital to any Airman. The mission starts and ends at home, and that is the baseline for your day. If one walks out the door, knowing they have the support of their significant other and family, that greatly reduces stressors. This means fewer distractions and provides a positive outlook which correlates to positive production. When the call comes to deploy for our country, the same applies. If home is happy, stable and thriving then any deployment will be made better. Focus is required in the fight and a positive home support is crucial to maintaining a resilient and sharp United States Airman."

AMXS Spouses looking to get more involved should contact Mrs. Jessica Dawson at, by phone at 843-817-2571 or by joining the 437th AMXS Key Spouse Facebook page.