Key Spouse coming in for UTAs, shares her story

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Frank Casciotta
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs

Jalesa Johnson, the 310th Space Wing key spouse, now holds office hours from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday of Unit Training Assembly weekends at the Schriever Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center.

“The goal I have with setting these office hours is to make myself available to commanders who want to grow their Key Spouse Program and communicate more regularly with my team,” Johnson said. “Having this dedicated time set aside lets me focus on that.”

As the wing Key Spouse, Johnson keeps up-to-date on programs and resources available to Reservists and their families, to include, certifications, classes and access to childcare.

“There are so many programs that people can take advantage of that a lot of families aren’t aware of and sometimes aren’t available to the Reserve,” she said. “I’m here to help them navigate all of that. There are even instances when I can get people in those classes because they have a minimum attendance requirement.”

The Key Spouse Program is an official U.S. Air Force program designed to enhance readiness, personal and family resiliency and establish a sense of community. Each Key Spouse is appointed by a unit commander and serves as a vital resource to command teams by supporting Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families.

Johnson first learned about the Key Spouse Program in 2016 more than 10 years after she married her husband, Lt. Col. Joshua Johnson, who is currently the 7th Space Operations Squadron commander here.

“I had some incredible mentors that taught me the benefit of coming alongside other spouses and doing this military life thing together,” she said. “I wasn’t able to lean on friends or family for advice because they didn’t understand the lifestyle.”

Those lessons came to the forefront of her mind years later while attending her first squadron gathering as the spouse of a Reservist, after her husband transferred from active duty.

“I remember looking around the room and thinking ‘these families only see each other once a year. This is a whole other set of issues, dilemmas and hurdles,’” she said. “I went to the commander at the time and said ‘if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.’”

The commander reached out sometime later and offered Johnson the Key Spouse position.

“I went through the training and understood the heart of the program. You don’t have to do this alone. The entire program is dedicated to helping each other,” she said. “In the Reserve, the impact touches you briefly, so many of the spouses don’t fully understand the military life. But if I can be that blessing when it inevitably does impact them more severely – whether it be a six- month training, deployment or dealing with this thing called Tricare, I want to be that help. I want to be that resource. Even though this is the Reserve and we may not see each other for a year at a time. I want you to know you will always have someone in your corner.”