557th WW Spouses Town Hall raises mission awareness

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

The 557th Weather Wing hosted two town halls for spouses of 557th WW members Nov. 1, providing awareness of the commander’s Key Spouses Program as well as a tour of the 557th WW facility.

With both a morning and an evening session, the 557th WW hoped to provide spouses with a sense of the mission in which their spouses were engaged and the mentorship opportunities open to them.

“By having the spouses come out, we’re able to show them what our Airmen do – what their spouses do – and tie it to the bigger picture,” said Col. Rick Wagner, vice commander of the 557th WW. “We’re all involved in something far bigger than any individual person – we’re talking defense of the nation. We’re able to show them how the jobs their spouses do for our Air Force tie into the larger mission.”

Wagner said an important motive behind bringing the spouses to the 557th WW was to better inform them about the Key Spouses Program and its role in addressing one of 557th WW Commander Col. Steven Dickerson’s top priorities: taking care of Airmen and their families.

“We can’t have 100 percent effort from each Airman if their families aren’t taken care of,” Wagner said. “When I deploy, I deploy confident my family is taken care of, so I can focus 100 percent on the mission. That’s not the case for every single family, because every family has a different dynamic. We want to make sure that all our families know there is support available and people who care about them.”

Throughout the tour, spouses were able to visit areas of the 557th WW normally not accessible to those without credentials, like the Space Weather Operations Center, High-Performance Computing Center and Global Mission Support Cell.

Leanne Norvell, spouse of Maj. Michael Norvell, director of operations with the 2nd Weather Group, Detachment 1, said the tour broadened her perspective of the mission the 557th WW accomplishes.

“It was interesting seeing how huge the computers are, and learning how everything going on with the sun affects satellite data and the climate of the Earth,” she said.

Jennifer McMillen’s spouse, Lt. Col. John McMillen, commander of the 2nd Systems Operations Squadron, is currently stationed at the 557th WW for the second time in four years, but she still found the briefings and tours helpful.

“Normally there are so many areas here we can’t access,” she said. “So being able to see a little bit behind the scenes was great.”