Anna Spafford

Branch: Space Force

Duty Station: Vandenberg Space Force Base

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 7

Share your military spouse story:
Facing limited opportunities in our hometown after marriage, my husband and I wanted more out of life. After a “pros and cons” list on all the military branches, we decided for him to enlist in the Air Force. That propelled us out of Michigan and into our military adventure. At our first duty station, I discovered the magic of military spouses, we were supporting each other through helping organize get-togethers, and I was babysitting my fellow military spouse's children due to a high operations tempo after 9/11, and it was a high tempo for deployments. This was before there was a Key Spouse program. Even then, I did not hesitate to show up for others like sitting with a fellow spouse in the ER because she was very ill, and supporting another spouse whose husband was deployed while she was going through postpartum depression. After my husband’s five-year break in service for school, he commissioned in the Air Force, and I continued to find ways to support my fellow spouses, and I was volunteering to help run the homeschool group, and organizing field trips and events. When we moved to Vandenberg AFB, I continued volunteering for kid’s activities, but also became a Key Spouse for the first time. Being a Key Spouse was amazing because it allowed me to use my experience to help spouses feel more connected. I did this by organizing events, checking on them regularly, taking meals, and advocacy work as I met with leadership communicating unique needs of families. We now have 19 years of military service, and I am so thankful for how it has shaped me. I continue to be a Key Spouse. Having been through multiple moves and struggling to locate care for our children, especially near Space Force bases, I began to realize the need for advocating for quality-of-life issues like better healthcare for military families. This led me to volunteer with an organization dedicated to helping Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) enrolled military families navigate the program.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Leadership to me is not about taking charge but about working together as a TEAM. My desire is to be the type of leader that encourages others to use their gifts and talents to promote the work that we are doing together. Everyone has something they can offer, and military spouses who work together can achieve anything. With this in mind, I have participated in leading several bases’ homeschool groups, oversaw a base’s spouse Yahoo group, and ran the Key Spouse Facebook information page for Vandenberg AFB. Now, I am actively involved in our Delta’s spouse working groups where we discuss challenges and work on solutions that will help our military families. I am also a part of the leadership team for Exceptional Families of the Military (EFM) which supports and advocates for families enrolled in the EFMP program. I also privately advised military spouses navigate eating disorder treatment for their child through the challenges of TRICARE.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
First and foremost, my time as a Key Spouse is the center of my involvement in the military community. My focus has been our Space Force community and building the Key Spouse program at our current squadron from scratch. I also show up for as many trainings and base or squadron events as I can to be involved as much as I am able in our community. Throughout the years I have attended many Heart link classes, mindfulness training, and took the initiative to be a part of base spouse sponsorship for newcomers. While not all initiatives from the base have lasted, I have always tried to be a part of the work that is being done hoping that I can help at least one person in need of support, including single parent active-duty members and advocating for male spouses. I also ran the childcare swap for a holiday party, which included managing caregivers, caring for 50 plus children, and changing every diaper. I helped guide military spouses needing eating disorder care for their children online.

Describe how you support your community:
I support my community by supporting military spouses in their businesses and endeavors. I am a champion of the work that I see other spouses doing and not only purchase their services, but also share what they are doing with others to see them thrive. I also believe in the power of one, each one of us possess the ability to make a difference in someone’s life. Through small actions I try to make a difference to those around me whether at my current base or across the miles through online support groups. Whenever I see a need and I know of the resource, I will go out of my way to make sure that I help where I can. This may include connecting people who may be at the same location that I know of who need support and information, regardless of branch. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you. I go out of my way to be sure no one feels alone. I don’t hesitate to reach out with a text, or drop everything to run to someone’s aid when in need.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Advocating for EFMP families and for equitable and quality healthcare, especially mental health care, for military families has become something very important to me. My family has been affected by the challenges we have faced while moving often and having children who have special needs. Finding appropriate care has been difficult. I am not alone in this difficulty; therefore, it has behooved me to act through my work with EFM and, whatever chance I get, to share with those who need to learn more about how to navigate EFMP. I also advocate for building a stronger Space Force community through connections and military spouses being there for one another. Throughout my time as a spouse, I have been helped by other military spouses and know that we cannot do this life alone, and we must be there for each other in whatever way we can. The Space Force has a chance to begin something different and make it our own, and I would consider it a privilege to help craft how we do this.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
It’s weird to think of myself having a platform with a message because I am only one, but as Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Throughout my time at EFM, I have written several press releases and worked with the leadership team on some initiatives and family support for the organization, putting my new professional writing degree to good use. I wrote an Expert blog on my family’s EFMP story for Mission: Milspouse and EFM. I am now planning and overseeing EFM’s Expert blogs and have become an Experience blogger once a month for M:M. I also share my advocacy message by replying to posts online in support groups or sharing posts on social media to bring awareness of what military families experience and the challenges they go through trying to support their active-duty member serve our country.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
There are several things I hope to accomplish if I were to be honored with this title. First is to spread awareness of how great the Space Force is and what they are doing in service of our nation. It is still widely misunderstood who they are and what they do. Next, I hope to increase awareness for the challenges of families with special needs members, and how difficult it can be to find necessary care through TRICARE and the challenges with the EFMP program. Our families deserve access to better and equitable healthcare, especially mental health and eating disorder care which is severely lacking across our nation. Lastly, I hope to reinvigorate military spouses. Historically, military spouses who worked together made lasting changes to policy and made impacts on communities, and I believe in carrying on this tradition. Our military morale is impacted by the health and vitality of our military spouses and families, and I hope to help other spouses see how vitally important they are.


I am honored to nominate Anna Spafford for 2024 AFI Military Spouse of the Year. I have seen her around the online spouse community for years and she is always reaching out to spouses to provide resources and support. She volunteers her time at multiple organizations and groups, as Key Spouse, group moderator, and non profit volunteer. She feels that military families deserve quality healthcare and lack of care makes assignments difficult for military families like hers, especially when it comes to Mental Health. So she uses her story to help advocate for change. When someone is in need, she shows up for them whether it is meals, advice or company with an understanding ear. She has a true passion to make life better for spouses and families, she truly cares and the military community is so much better for having her in it.
- by Cara-Lee Alford

I am honored to nominate Anna Spafford for the 2024 AFI Military Spouse of the Year. Anna is a dedicated presence in the military spouse community; Anna extends her support by volunteering as a Key Spouse, Exceptional Families of the Military Peer-to-Peer support group moderator, and recently took on the role of being an unpaid COO for a non-profit serving military families. Anna's genuine care and kindness has significantly enriched my life and the lives of military families, making her a deserving candidate who inspires, empowers, engages, and advocates for the military community.
- by Austin Carrigg