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Spouses immersed in Combat Airlift mission

A man in a suit talks to a group of people.

Gary Fletcher, Jacksonville mayor, greets senior leader spouses and discusses the resources the spouses have in Jacksonville at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, August 16, 2018. The spouses listened to many speakers during their Senior Leader Spouse Immersion to familiarize themselves with LRAFB and surrounding partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man in the Airman Battle Uniform talks to a man in a suit.

U.S. Air Force Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander, greets Gary Fletcher, Jacksonville mayor, during the Senior Leader Spouse Immersion at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, August 16, 2018. Fletcher discussed the resources spouses have for their families outside LRAFB’s gates in the Jacksonville school system and overall community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

Two ladies laugh while they converse.

Senior leader spouses mingle before they’re briefed about Team Little Rock’s missions at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, August 16, 2018. The spouses visited numerous base facilities to familiarize themselves with the local resources that support their Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A group of people sit at tables and talk.

Senior leader spouses mingle before they’re briefed Team Little Rock’s missions at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, August 16, 2018. The spouses visited numerous base facilities to familiarize themselves with the local resources that support their Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Key spouses participated in the Senior Leader Spouse Immersion tour recently to familiarize themselves with the Combat Airlift mission and provide them with an overview of base and local resources that support Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base.

“Spouses play such a critical role,” said Sharon Thompson, Airman Family and Readiness Center chief. “They’re part of the team. How they feel about the military and what it has to offer their entire family has a huge impact on retention.”

The immersion, held Aug. 16, 2018, started with a greeting and an overall Combat Airlifter briefing by Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Justin Strain, 19th AW command chief introducing numerous leaders on base and in the community.

The event continued with a presentation brief given by Gary Fletcher, Jacksonville mayor, on improvements being made in the local community to help Air Force families’ growth and involvement in the Jacksonville community and school system. After, the key spouses received an overview of the Airmen & Family Readiness Center, and programs provided for families.

“As military spouses, you have so much to offer and I’d like to know when you leave here, part of you is still here within the community,” said Gary Fletcher, Jacksonville mayor. “Everyone has a choice to make on what they leave behind. They either leave their foot print or their finger print, and only one of them makes a difference.”

The next stop in the immersion saw the spouses traveling to the 314th Airlift Wing to learn about the training side of the Combat Airlift mission. After the training briefing, the spouses got to experience the food services and dining establishments available to them and their Airmen on LRAFB by having lunch at the Hercules Dining Facility.

During their lunch, the spouses heard from different wing staff agencies, such as the base chapel, the judge advocates’ office and the public affairs office, on the resources within the wing available to them.

The immersion concluded with a tour, starting with a briefing from the 19th AW’s partner wing, the 189th AW, and continued to different facilities on base, such as the flightline, youth center and base chapel, to familiarize the spouses with the layout of Little Rock AFB and Combat Airlift.

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