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NEWS | July 5, 2006

Strongest link: Commander encourages involvement in base spouse organizations

By Col. Vicki Sullivan 437 AMXS commander

It has been quite a month since I was assigned temporary duty to command the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron while Maj. Brad Tannehill takes his turn accomplishing a deployment. It has been challenging, exciting, rewarding, demanding, frustrating; overall, everything I expected. Quite a few years have passed since I was on active duty.

I am amazed at the changes and enhancements of processes as well as the things that remain the same.

When I started to write this article, I considered writing about one of the lean initiatives. It is currently the hot topic. I finally heard it said and even saw it in print; we will have to do less with less. So we are all taking stock of what we have and balancing ways to get the mission accomplished. Recently, I had several opportunities to interact with some of the spouses on base. This often is an overlooked or under-utilized resource; they may be one of the answers to accomplishing necessary tasks with limited resources.

One of the things I am glad to see remaining in place are spouses' organization. It has always been and proves to still be today one of the strongest links in the chain. In just this short time, I have seen this group reach out to help spouses of deployed members and to sponsor and advertise events for Airmen. They are also there for each other without being asked. They are involved in committees providing for our children, organizing sports events, helping newly married Airmen get a positive start, providing scholarship opportunities and just last week at the Airmen leadership graduation you heard they provided items for the students if you listened carefully. At least a third of the audience were spouses supporting their Airmen and the event.

If you haven't considered this resource with the same intensity you consider your manning document, your budget or your equipment, give it a try. The production they offer any organization is pure enhancement. This could well be one of the resources to get us through these lean times.

If your spouse is a member, thank them. If your spouse is not a member - encourage them to get involved. When you don't know how to get something done, don't overlook this motivated resource. The only change in this group that I have seen over the years is it isn't just for wives anymore.