AFA Supports Sword Athena’s Langley-Eustis Family Readiness Summit 

March 20, 2024

The Air & Space Forces Association partnered with Air Combat Command’s Sword Athena and military families at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis Family Readiness Summit to discuss on-base challenges and potential solutions to those challenges. The February 20 event was funded by an AFA United Forces & Families focus grant.  

ACC’s Sword Athena—a group of volunteer Airmen dedicated to finding solutions to female- and family-centric barriers to readiness—will work to move those proposed solutions up the chain of command.  

Some of the challenges family members discussed included spouse employment, household goods, wing protocol, family mental care, and inclusivity issues.  

Following the discussion, Sword Athena will advocate for several changes to the Air Force’s Key Support Program (formerly the Key Spouse Program), including integrating LGBTQ and non-traditional family programs, and expanding opportunities for Airmen, Guardians, federal employees, and family members to volunteer within their units, irrespective of marital status. 

Countless participants at the summit emphasized the importance of support networks and other military spouses for family mentoring.  

“Sword Athena’s focus on family readiness is driven by an understanding that resilient families lead to resilient Airmen. We want our families to know that we see them and want to hear from them because when our uniformed members know their families are taken care of, they can focus on the mission,” said Maj. Sharon Arana, the Sword Athena team lead and the branch chief for ACC’s Distributed Common Ground Systems Futures. 

“This was very empowering. As a spouse, oftentimes it feels like we’re made to be seen not heard,” said one spouse participant. 

The event also included a panel representing the diverse demographics of a military family. Panelists highlighted their unique social challenges—such as difficulty finding safe spaces for military dependents after multiple deployments. 

“The panel included a joint spouse, a teenage dependent, a stay-at-home father, and working dependents to show that variety in our military families is a strength, and we need to ensure we’re creating inclusive policies and support networks for our families,” said Arana. 

AFA’s United Forces & Families (F2) program provided an F2 Focus Grant to underwrite the costs for the summit. This grant was the latest of AFA’s efforts to directly support family readiness and quality-of-life initiatives: AFA launched the F2 Grant program in 2023 by investing $50,000 in a variety of grants that directly benefitted Airmen, Guardians, and their Families. The Association is awarding another $50,000 in grants for similar projects and initiatives throughout 2024. 

To learn more about AFA’s F2 Focus Grants, contact

F2 also provides field grants to AFA Chapters to support Department of the Air Force families in areas such as food insecurity, morale improvement, and professional development. For more information on F2 Field Grants and how to apply, click here