By Senior Airman Justin Wynn
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Twenty-six key spouses participated in a 3rd Wing immersion Aug. 31 and Oct. 14.
The 3rd Wing’s mission is to provide air dominance, global mobility, and command-and-control for combatant commanders; one of its key lines of effort is to lead, develop, and care for Airmen and their families. Thus spouses are crucial to the 3rd Wing’s mission, but they may not always understand what their significant others do.
These immersions aim to provide an opportunity to experience multiple aspects of 3rd Wing, and share that knowledge with other spouses.
U.S. Air Force Col. Travolis Simmons, 3rd Wing commander, opened the tour with a quick briefing and guided the spouses through different stops.
“Spouses are vital to the success of our military. However, given the global pandemic, most 3rd Wing spouses have not had first-hand exposure to our mission; and more importantly, many are not well-versed in the intricacies of their military member’s day-to-day duties” Simmons said. “The intent of this immersion is to showcase the wing mission, as well as the numerous behind-the-scenes perspectives that very few people get to see. I believe it is vital that our spouses have a full appreciation for the mission success that they enable.”
Spouses met crew members of an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System and toured the inside of the aircraft. The group learned about the E-3’s capabilities and how its radar supports F-22 Raptors in the skies.
Jamie Lytton, the 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander’s spouse, said it was eye-opening for her to learn the importance of the aircraft her husband’s squadron is responsible for maintaining.
“I always hear my husband talk about the aircraft, but seeing it in person was not how I imagined. I got an understanding of how important the aircraft is to the mission,” said Lytton. “What stuck out to me is the passion of crew members, their training, experience and pride for their aircraft’s mission.”
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Franklin, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 3rd Wing commander’s action group, was on the coordinating committee for the tour. She said she was pleased to see reactions like Lytton’s throughout the tour and believes the participants were able to leave with an understanding of the wing’s mission, and the roles their spouses play.
“Military spouses make a lot of sacrifices that often go unnoticed and they generally don’t get the full ‘why’ behind those sacrifices,” Franklin said. “By showcasing what we do, how we do it, and why I hope we provided them with a sense of pride in what they help make possible.”
Spouse feedback has been positive.
“It was an awesome experience and something I think should be continued,” said Vanessa Martin, a tour participant.
Key spouses who attended the first iterations of the immersions are now better equipped to inform and educate other spouses on the wing’s mission.
Wing leadership intends to hold more immersion events to continue providing opportunities for spouses to see 3rd Wing’s mission firsthand.