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Heartlink is an orientation program for military spouses

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Are you a military spouse who has been "married" to the military for five years or less? Does your spouse use strange acronyms that you don't understand? When they are in uniform and with a group of other military members do they stand up when specific people walk into a room? Why do they salute a car or stop when the national anthem is played at the end of the day?

If you find the military way of life confusing, plan to attend Heartlink. It's a fun filled day of activities that teaches you why your spouse acts the way they do while in uniform. You learn that you are the heart of the Air Force and play a vital role in decisions your spouse makes concerning reenlisting. The goal of Heartlink is to strengthen military families through knowledge about military programs, agencies and the mission.

Heartlink is offered quarterly and there are two more opportunities to attend a session this year -- Sept. 18 and Nov. 13.

Registration runs from 8 to 8:25 a.m. and a continental breakfast is served during this time. At 8:30 a.m., Col. Steven Bleymaier, 72nd Air Base Wing and Tinker installation commander, provides an overview of Tinker's mission. This is the first opportunity for many of the spouses to really understand the importance of Tinker Air Force Base. The commander takes time to answer questions the spouse may have.

Base agencies are invited to meet with the spouses during the Agency Knowledge Hunt activity. This provides the perfect opportunity to speak with representatives from helping agencies both on and off base to find out about services provided.

Seasoned spouses -- those who have been married to the military for 10 years or more and have a lot of experience to share -- assist with the program. These spouses have the answers to questions you want to ask but don't know how to phrase or don't even know that you need to ask. They are willing to impart their knowledge and assist the younger spouses on this new journey.

Lunchtime provides attendees the opportunity to share experiences and to continue learning more about their roles as a military spouse. This is a time when spouses can share contact information and make those "lasting friendships."

As the day comes to an end, each participant is presented a coin by the 72nd ABW command chief, who reminds the group of their vital importance to the mission.

If you have questions or would like more information, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 739-2747.