Spouses of deployed Airmen armed with information

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When Airmen leave for a deployment, their spouses are often left at home, and many times are forced to make decisions they've never made before.

For months, Misawa's 35th Operations Group has been training to go downrange. But preparing to deploy is more than what happens on the flightline; it's also about what goes on at home.

Col. Cedric George, commander of the 35th Maintenance Group, has made it a priority to make sure spouses of servicemembers who are deploying have a powerful weapon called information.

The commander organized a town hall meeting for spouses, where base organizations such as Finance, Family Advocacy and Tricare could give presentations to eager spouses.

"It's a passion of mine, born out of my own deployments that suggests that I've got to make sure that my family, my house is in order. What a better way to do that than to bring out the very people who brief our deployed members out and have them provide the same briefing to the families as well," said Colonel George.

"I really don't know what to expect, so I just really want to get as many answers as possible," said Cyndi Schwartz, whose husband is deploying for the first time.

Besides the town hall meeting, the command is contacting each of the spouses, sending out surveys, and providing hard copies of all information discussed at the meetings. They've also arranged for Readiness Assistance volunteers to assist spouses with any needs.

"We are a family here in the maintenance group," said Colonel George. "It's more than just generating aircraft to support the 35th Fighter Wing's mission. It is taking care of this family, with the spouses and the kids."