Family, community involvement is key theme during Welsh visit

By Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published May 09, 2014

Betty Welsh, the wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, speaks with senior leaders and key spouses, May 1, 2014, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Welsh spoke to leaders and key spouses about the base's spouse programs and addressed important issues and resolutions during their visit to Mountain Home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu)


Traveling hundreds of miles, Betty Welsh accompanied her husband, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, on his visit here May 1 to 2, 2014.

Throughout the two-day visit, Welsh spoke with Airmen and their families on important issues such as the sexual assault prevention and response program, the healthy base initiative and focusing on the spouses program.

"The key spouses program is one that is near and dear to my heart," she said. "It's all about getting to know each other; that's how the program strengthens our Air Force."

The key spouse program is an official Air Force unit and family program designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of community.

"I remember Mark's first deployment ... it was scary and we didn't know what to expect," Welsh said. "It was then that the spouses of the deployed got together and grew our own spouses group."

The program has since been standardized across the Air Force to address the needs of all military families with special emphasis on communication and support to families across the deployment cycle.

"When I came into the spouses group I remember not knowing a single thing about the military, let alone the air force and it was frightening," said Say Tan, the wife of 366th Medical Group commander, Col. Sarady Tan. "It was my involvement with the spouses group that really got me through it."

The program does more than just connect families with unit leadership. It also improves the quality of life among unit families and increases awareness of installation and community resources.

"Every one of you has a great story to tell," said Jenny Iverson, the wife of 366th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Dave Iverson. "I'm proud to be able to celebrate the program and what it means to each and every one of us by showing Mrs. Welsh what we're doing here."