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Help for You, Your Family

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Frank Flores
  • 3rd Aerial Port Squadron Commander
Spouses and family members, don't stop reading! I usually read the first few sentences of an article then quickly determine that I don't need another lecture on morality or standards and move on to something more interesting. However, this article is about a support organization that helps unit members, spouses and family members. 

Inspection season is here and is the source of extreme stress for us all. My squadron, the 3rd Aerial Port Squadron, just underwent a Logistics Standardization and Evaluation Program inspection. We worked hard and received an "Excellent" rating from the evaluators. I saw the determined effort my team put into preparing and executing this inspection and am so proud of our great work. 

However, one aspect of the work that goes into an inspection that no one sees is the support from our spouses, families and friends. This is crucial to our emotional and spiritual well being. They bear the burden when we deploy and when we work long hours getting ready for an inspection. They share in our accomplishments but also help build us back up after setbacks, or as they say on T.V., when we suffer "the agony of defeat." 

We owe so much to our families and it is critical they understand the support network and services available to them. Please keep reading because this is where it gets good.
Air Mobility Command has created an informal peer-to-peer program to help spouses and family members; it is called the Phoenix Spouse program. This program recognizes that everyone on the unit team (commander, first sergeant, unit members, family members and supporting organizations) impacts its culture and ability to support the mission. 

So why should you care? Your Phoenix Spouse can truly make a difference in your life. The program is an excellent support network when our families need help after a tragedy or need advice about services available. 

The 3rd APS Phoenix Spouse team is a fine-tuned machine with a quick reaction force capability that responds to family members who are ill, need rides, need advice, or just need someone to talk to. Did you know you are entitled to free child care when you first arrive or that free financial counseling is available to you? Did you know that your unit's Phoenix Spouse is here to help you if you feel isolated and just need a shoulder to lean on? 

When we arrived several weeks ago, my wife was alone with two babies, a house full of boxes and a husband working long hours. She received help, information and even playmates for our boys from a Phoenix Spouse. Most of the information we receive regarding services available comes from the informal networks in our neighborhood or through relationships with other military families. 

The Phoenix Spouse representatives, who are unit spouses, can cut through the red tape and tell you, with authority, what support is available to you. You may not want another set of friends or to be too involved...that's okay, but it is worth your time to contact your Phoenix Spouse and just introduce yourself. Don't let the first time you talk to them be the time that you are suffering from a crisis. The Airman and Family Readiness Flight or your unit's first sergeant have a phone roster with your Phoenix Spouse numbers (some units have several reps). 

My Phoenix Spouses are sponsoring a panel discussion with spouses and family members next month. This panel will include the Chaplain's office, A&FRF, the Mental Health Clinic, Education Office and a few other support agencies. My wife came up with the idea last month after attending the AMC Squadron Commander and Spouse's Course at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. 

Our group's goal is to share info on the free services available to them as military family members and for everyone to meet the Phoenix Spouse support network in person. We plan on cooking out and offering child care to involve as many of our spouses and family members as we can. 

If you are still reading this article, congratulations! I probably would have been in the car ads by now. Thank you to all of our spouses and family members for supporting us. We are all so grateful for your dedication, service, and most of all, loving devotion.
Please get to know your Phoenix Spouses and what they have to offer. We owe it to you to allow them to support you.