Its Friday – A Focus on the Military Family with Key Spouses and the Caring for People Forum in the Headlines!

Focusing on the military family! Yes, they deserve and earn it every day!

Lt Gen Darrell D JonesIt is Friday! Yeah! Most of us look forward to it.  For us it means a weekend is almost here! Time off, relaxation, family time, church and projects.  Unless you are deployed, tdy, in basic training or other training when it means tomorrow is Saturday. 

I do like this > FFF, Family Focus Friday. Being a military person I am used to acronyms like FRSA, A&FRC, MWR, AGS, MXS, etc. and most of you are too. They almost replace what they stand for at times during conversation. I think the military must have taught teenagers how to text with their lol, idk, ++ shortening of phrases. We were true leaders in this field. By the way, since retiring from active duty I found out that many civilian businesses have their own acronyms too!

Our military friends frequently move on to new endeavors and responsibilities after our encounters at one base, post, station, or camp. When we meet or talk to them again, it can be a lot of fun to catch up. So when the DoD Blogger Roundtable folks announced their next guest, Lt Gen Darrell Jones, I looked forward to speaking with the General who was a friend at a base a few years back. (A few being about ten in my new definition.) As the USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, he wanted to tell us about the Air Force Key Spouse program, support to AF Spouses, and the Caring for People Forum and we could hear the passion in his voice as he spoke about the military community and families. Not overlooking the single folks either, he told us about the programs and then let us ask some questions.

When queried about why folks volunteer to be a Key Spouse (there are more than 4,000 across the Air Force) he said, it was their passion, “this is what I like to do”. Helping the military community stay informed and up to date with accurate information is the primary role.  But, supporting folks during deployments and other challenging times falls into their realm as well. With connectivity almost real time, it is important to get the right words on Facebook, Twitter, emails and other social media. The key spouses can do that and act as an auxiliary of the command chain as well. Better to get information directly than what used to be the informal but sometimes inaccurate information shared among spouses and families.

The other services have similar programs to Air Force Key Spouses. The Navy Ombudsman and Army Family Readiness Support Assistant perform similar functions.

A military brat, Lt Gen Jones, grew up in the military. He understands what is important and leading the Caring for People forum in July was right up his alley! The forum brought together more 250 Air Force leaders, program managers, family members and volunteers assembled to discuss ways to improve support programs and services for airmen and their extended families. Experts such as the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) were there to help. Jones (Darrell sounds better but that is just wrong for this military guy) said they were there to help with the resilience of the Air Force community.

An annual event, this year the forum brought together the different commands’ top key spouses to be recognized.  Jones said they, “had thrown their heart and soul into the program”. All were below 40 years young and stayed connected to help others. Reading some of the details of the accomplishments of the winners is inspiring.

The general closed with comments on how the services continue to change and the challenges of helping airmen and their families to be resilient will continue. We must focus on the individual family and take care of the future! If you would like to listen to an audio or read a transcript of this Roundtable please go to DoDLiveMilAve_Deborah also attended the Roundtable and wrote a blog from a military spouse perspective!  You can read her blog, “Caring For Families is an Air Force Way of Life” by clicking on the link.

Photo Credit: KonFriday, September 23, 2011Military Life:,,,

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