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Key Support Liaisons tour Grissom

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexa Culbert

Grissom Air Reserve Base’s Key Support Liaisons, formerly referred to as Key Spouses, learned more about the wing’s mission and the Airmen that they serve during a tour of the base on June 8, 2024.

Since Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, Julie Thompson, the lead mentor of the Commander’s Key Support Program, thought it was fitting to kick-off the tour at fuel sampling.

Thompson said the purpose of the tour was to help the volunteers become more familiarized with the base and its mission, so they can better serve Airmen and their families.

The Key Support Liaisons also made stops and met Airmen assigned to the 49th Aerial Port Squadron, 434th Security Forces Squadron and the Maintenance Operations Center.

Along the way, some of the volunteers were introduced to their spouse’s commanders and the Airmen within the squadrons that they represent, which allowed them to put a name to the face.

“They’re volunteers, so they don’t work here, and they don’t come here to every UTA, so this helps them get more familiarized,” said Thompson.

There are currently 32 Key Support Liaisons who are located within the local area, as well as the Chicago and Indianapolis area, and while they can’t all be at the base all the time, Thompson said that it’s important for the volunteers to be at the base and to be present.
The tour also gave base leadership an opportunity to give their thanks and show their support to the volunteers during an awards ceremony held at Gus Grissom Hall.

Col. Van Thai, commander of the 434th ARW, said he doesn’t care for the term dependent, because within a family, or ohana as he calls it, we all depend on each other and the 1% of the nation that serve includes the families as well, as we all serve as a team.

“On behalf of the United States and the Air Force, I want to thank you and your families that serve together, because that’s what we are. We are stronger together. You empower your folks in uniform and support our other ‘big-A’ Airmen and civilians who do their jobs each and every day to support our nation.”

Each of the volunteers were given a certificate of appreciation, and Pinnie Wallace was named the Key Spouse of the Year.

“I just want to thank everyone that helped make this happen for us,” said Thompson. I want to thank the commanders and leadership for their help with supporting the program, and something as small as a thank you is huge for us volunteers, and we don’t take anything like this lightly. We’re passionate about it and we have a heart for helping the Airmen and their families.”