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What is a Key Spouse?

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas - Three of the 301st Key Spouse STARS, Annette Mallard, Karen Breazeale and Amelia McMillen, pose for a quick photo during the wing's Family Day here Oct. 4, 2014. As America's Citizen Airmen, balancing Reserve-work-life is crucial to wing success. Part of helping that balance is the Key Spouse program designed to ensure spouses are connected to the 301st and receive the resources they need. For more information on our Key Spouse STARS program, email 301st.spouses@gmail.com, like Fort Worth Key Spouse on Facebook, or follow @301FW_KeySpouse on Twitter. (Courtesy Photo)

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas - Three of the 301st Key Spouse STARS, Annette Mallard, Karen Breazeale and Amelia McMillen, pose for a quick photo during the wing's Family Day here Oct. 4, 2014. As America's Citizen Airmen, balancing Reserve-work-life is crucial to wing success. Part of helping that balance is the Key Spouse program designed to ensure spouses are connected to the 301st and receive the resources they need. For more information on our Key Spouse STARS program, email 301st.spouses@gmail.com, like Fort Worth Key Spouse on Facebook, or follow @301FW_KeySpouse on Twitter. (Courtesy Photo)

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas -- What is a Key Spouse?  That's the number one question I hear about the Key Spouse program.  There is an entire handbook dedicated to defining the expectations and duties of a Key Spouse.  But, I think I can explain it in a much simpler way.

To truly understand the program, it's important to understand where Key Spouses fit into the squadron family. Think of the 301st Fighter Wing as a healthy human body with lots of parts. In order to be a healthy wing, each squadron needs to run smoothly.  Part of keeping a squadron in excellent working order is making sure its Airmen are healthy - physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.

Along with healthy Airmen, happy, healthy spouses and families are also integral parts of a successful squadron.  If the spouse is happy and supportive, the Airman can focus his or her energy on the assigned mission.

So, to ensure spouses feel a sense of belonging, the purpose of the Key Spouse STARS is to reach out to spouses, to welcome spouses to the unit family, and to connect them to the people/resources they need.  Because of the geographical distance between so many of our spouses in the Reserve, we renamed our 301 FW Key Spouse program as the Key Spouse STARS (Spouses reaching out To welcome and inform All Reserve/Integrated Active Spouses).  Besides making a cool acronym, the name STARS exemplifies the stars in constellations - a constant and reliable means for helping find direction.

Key Spouse STARS are a lot like customer service for squadron spouses.  They might not know the answers to all of the questions, but they do have the training and resources to connect you with the person who does have those an-swers.

The best part of the program is that it includes all spouses in a squadron.  Military rank has absolutely nothing to do with the Key Spouse STARS ... we are just a group of spouses connecting spouses.  No spouse in the 301 FW family should ever feel alone. We want to make sure that all the 301 FW spouses know someone has their back - not only during deployments, but all the time!

Soon, there will be a secure website available for spouses to register their contact information and make requests.  We will add to the website and hope to include tons of local information from all of the many areas our spouses are located, including other spouses who live in the same area.  Since our site is currently under construction, if you are interested in becoming one of the Key Spouse STARS, or if you would just like to get connected with the Key Spouse STARS for your squadron, please send an email to 301st.spouses@gmail.com with your requests.  After receiving your contact information, one of the Key Spouse STARS from your squadron or group will contact you.

Together, I'm confident we can successfully build a Key Spouse STARS program that not only works for us, but also serves as a model for other Reserve organizations.