Amber Tracy

Branch: Air Force

Duty Station: Kadena Air Base

Number of Deployments: 1

Number of PCS's: 2

Share your military spouse story:
In 2011, I sold a pair of Rayban Wayfayers to a good looking guy, and the rest is history! Five days after being introduced to that good looking guy by a mutual friend, he told me that I should come to Germany, where he was currently stationed. I laughed it off and told him that he was crazy, but when I told family and friends (because yes, I was already falling for him and couldn’t stop talking about him), they told me that I would be crazy not go to! Nearly 13 years later it is still the best decision I ever made. Having met him in the middle of my college semester, we spent the first six weeks of our relationship like many military couples - half a world apart. Once I arrived in Germany, 90 days flew by FAST and I needed a job! One afternoon I walked into the AAFES Human Resources Office as a desperate young girl looking for a job to allow me to stay in Germany with my boyfriend that I was now madly in love with and walked out as a Customer Service Representative. A few months later I got the dreaded call informing me that we had orders - to New Mexico. My husband jokes that getting me to Germany was easy, but he knew I loved him when I agreed to move with him to Kirtland Air Force Base, where were spent the next 7.5 years. Shortly after getting married and welcoming our first son I became a Key Spouse because even though I lived on base, I felt so disconnected. I knew that others must have been feeling the same way and I wanted to do something about it. I returned to the workforce and completed my Bachelor’s degree (only five years “behind schedule”), only to quit due to lack of quality childcare. Finally at the end of 2019, we arrived in Okinawa. After a year with little to no community due to the global pandemic, I dove back in, head first, to serving the military community once again as a Key Spouse and through the spouses’ club. Serving others while building community and making sure that everyone has a seat at the table is truly my passion.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Throughout my time as a military spouse I have had the privilege and honor of holding several executive board positions in non-profit organizations, as well as serve as a Key Spouse. Acts of Service is my love language. My heart exploded when I met friends that were actively involved in Spouses' clubs and invited me to join. Spending time with people I love while serving our community and having fun? Sign me up! These organizations often require a lot of grit and are run by some of the most passionate individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Spouses’ clubs will always have a very special place in my heart as this is where I have met nearly all of my military spouse friends turned family.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Having served on the Executive Board of the Okinawa Enlisted Spouses’ Club for the past three years, I have been able to support the military community in a variety of ways - charitable grants, scholarships, volunteer opportunities, and the ability to foster community with likeminded individuals while serving both the military and Japanese communities. In January of 2022 I started collecting ball gowns in hopes of opening a free dress rental program in our thrift store, open to anyone with base access. We rented our first gown in August of 2022 with approximately 60 gowns in our inventory and have since then rented over 200 gowns and have an inventory of nearly 300. In the year and a half we have been open we have saved military dependents tens of thousands of dollars.

Describe how you support your community:
Okinawa is a place that will live in my heart forever. Nowhere has felt like home the way this island has for the last four years. As the President of the American Welfare and Works Association (AWWA), I am honored to be a part of an organization with an over 70 year history that has reorganized and adjusted over time in order to make a positive impact and be inclusive to all of its members. This organization is comprised of seven military spouse run organizations across the island that represent a collaborative effort of raising funds in order to support and improve the quality of life for both the local American and Japanese communities. AWWA have been an intregal part of the long lasting friendship between us and our host nation, donating over $8 million through the history of the organization.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Community. Humans are not made for isolation, though that is what military life can often feel like. Whenever I hear spouses say that they hate it here on this beautiful island that we call home, I always think to myself, I wonder what their personal community looks like. During the pandemic I realized quickly that while I was tremendously thankful for technology and the ability to stay in touch with my family and friends around the world, proximity friends and community are invaluable. No two places had the same restrictions or policies, and having people that could relate to what you were experiencing on such a deep level was so necessary. One of the first steps of every military move should be finding your people!

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I share with everyone I know about the various organizations in which I am a part of because they are the reason that I have the community and network that I do today. While I maintain relationships through social media and rely heavily on technology to stay in touch with friends and family around the world, I believe that “boots on the ground” in-person interaction is the most effective way to reach people. I have been able to speak at newcomers' orientations for both spouses and military members, as well as brief senior leadership on the struggles our military families experience from personal interaction with these individuals while also highlighting the amazing things that others are doing to provide support. I believe that telling others about the amazing things you are a part of is the best way to empower them to discover their passions and find those opportunities for themselves to do the same.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I hope to empower others to take charge of their military spouse experience. It is so easy to simply go through the motions and get trapped in a “hamster wheel”. Find what you are passionate about and share it with others. This program has an impressive alumni list of individuals from all walks of life that uniquely represent our community. I hope to continue to connect with other likeminded people and work together to help improve the military spouse experience for our peers. Being a military spouse can be a really lonely gig, but it doesn’t have to be and I want to show that to others.


Amber has a drive for her family, the military community and everyone around her that you do not find in the average person. She has made such a difference not only in our military community, but also to the tiny island we call home. She is the President of the Okinawa Enlisted Spouses Club (OESC) & the President of the American Welfare & Works Association (AWWA) here on island. She juggles both with ease & still finds time for her husband, 2 sons, & friends. If you do see her running around Okinawa, she could be doing one of a million things… attending her sons soccer game, sorting through the over 200 ball gowns in the “Operation Ball Gown” inventory (a program in which she started here from the ground up), taking donations to local off base charities, helping other spouses with everyday life or when life gets tough, handling the logistics of both the OESC & AWWA (charitable giving, amazing events, hiring at the OESC Thrift Store, multiple meetings per month, etc), & so much more.
- by Christina Wall