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Sponsors do important job; military spouses shine in May

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
We are entering a high permanent-change-of-station season, and with so much turnover expected, I want to emphasize the importance you have as a sponsor in making newly reporting personnel feel welcomed and well adjusted.

Sponsors are responsible for forming that initial connection with newly assigned members prior to their report date to help with in-processing and overall integration on the base.

Truthfully, being a good sponsor isn't necessarily hard. It takes an investment of time, attention and responsiveness. We have many resources available for newcomers. I encourage the use of the MacDill Air Force Base Web site,, "Moving to MacDill" link, which provides information on the school liaison programs and youth services, installation information, relocation assistance and other valuable tools. Additionally, the Newcomers' Orientation is held the first Wednesday of every month, and spouses are encouraged to attend.

The act of sponsoring isn't limited to the appointed sponsors, but we all should help as we interact with newly reporting service members, their spouses and families. It goes back to our core value of "Service before Self." We should serve others to get them off to a great start. The entire base benefits mutually from building a sense of community and charity. Another way I'm observing the demonstration of our core value is through our volunteers.

Why volunteer? Well, it is important to us because at MacDill we have about 80% of our population living off-base, and in our satellite facilities volunteerism is a critical component to making the mission work. Our spouses are leading the effort in volunteering their talents and time in those important areas behind the scene in Brandon and right here on base.

Friday, we will host an Open House for Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Thanks to Ms. Elizabeth Waters, Ms. Angie Fields, Ms. Venetia Waters, Ms. Shirley Smith, and the Airman and Family Readiness Center staff for putting together a variety of outreach events that will happen this month--Military Spouse Appreciation Month, starting with Friday's kickoff event. This month's events will also include an overview of the Key Spouse Program.

Our Key Spouse Program plays a vital role in connecting families with the programs offered by the A&FRC and other staff agencies. I am looking forward to meeting the next great crop of key spouses and seeing them trained to carry out these important roles, as mentoring opportunities are available.

For this week's "shout out" recognition, 6th Contracting Squadron's Airman 1st Class Adam Gilreath was recently a standout performer with active participation in MacDill AFB's Junior Enlisted Council. He was also recognized as the Wing's Diamond Sharp Award winner, and he provided quick turn-around on a fire truck repair contract allowing flight line operations to proceed unhindered.

For the successful celebration of MacDill's 70th Birthday, I want to thank 6th Air Mobility Wing Historian, Mr. Bill Polson for his work in presenting and informing many of us on the historical timeline of our base.

Last month, we led about 30 Tampa Bay civic leaders on an excursion to educate them and heighten their awareness of Air Force personnel, mission and assets. Since returning, those local leaders have shown an enormous level of gratitude for what you do because they had the chance to appreciate it. I want to thank the team that made that event happen: 91st Air Refueling Squadron's Maj. Robert Renner, Capt. Justin Capper and Capt. Greg Kuhn and the crews that assisted them; and 6th AMW Public Affairs' Senior Master Sgt. Terry Montrose.

I am proud to serve with you in the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet!