Key Spouse spotlight: Tina Dane

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings
  • 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Tina Dane is a veteran of multiple deployments, including a year-long stint in Korea. She spent 9-11 in Germany, fretfully watching the news to see how her home country would fare in the aftermath of that attack. She is not, however, a member of the military. Instead, she holds the exalted and often difficult position of military spouse.

After that fateful day, she started reaching out to other military families.

“We celebrated birthdays and took care of people and each other,” Dane said, “because nobody else could.”

When her husband, now-Tech. Sgt. David Dane, a defender with the 442d Security Forces Squadron, went to Korea for a 1-year tour in 2001, Tina felt somewhat isolated. She was able to talk to him through the base operator at scheduled times, but ultimately had very little contact from her husband, or from her husband’s unit. Meanwhile, she held down a full-time job and took care of their young daughter.

Finally, about a week before David was scheduled to return home, someone from the unit reached out to see how she was doing.

“It really made me mad that it took that long,” she said.

Now, Tina is one of the most involved Key Spouses with the 442d Fighter Wing and is doing her best to ensure others don’t have the same difficulties or isolation that she experienced. She believes that, with the right support structure, deployments don’t have to be extremely difficult for families. And knowing that their families are taken care of helps the deployed members to concentrate on their tasks downrange.

“These guys need to be able to focus,” she said. “If they’re worried about things at home, it could put them in danger. They need to know things are taken care of.”

Perhaps picking up on their mother’s dedication to helping others, the Dane children have started reaching out and providing comfort to their schoolmates whose parents have deployed. They help kids find where their parents are on a map, and figure out the time difference to ease communication.

November, 2020, marks Tech. Sgt. Dane’s retirement ceremony. He is scheduled to officially retire in February, 2021. At that point, most families shake the metaphorical hand of the Air Force and step away.

Not Tina Dane. She plans to maintain her Key Spouse duties through the 442 SFS’s next deployment, sometime in 2021.

“I really enjoy doing it,” Tina said. “I enjoy helping people through it because I remember not having anybody.”