Bree Berger

Branch: Air Force

Duty Station: Goodfellow Air Force Base

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 5

Share your military spouse story:
I believe that we all are sums of our experiences and environments. I don't like to think of this as a "military spouse story" because that denotes that we can compartmentalize our identities as military spouses. I prefer to own this as MY story, full of tragedy, grace, encouragement, hard lessons, growth, triumph, and endless love. Being a military spouse comes with many stereotypes. The ironic part is that I have never met such a diverse and amazing group of people- to label us is impossible. When I first met my husband nearly eleven years ago, I knew nothing about the military. It's common with this lifestyle for people to say odd things to you, such as, "You knew what you were signing up for..." Well, I truly didn't. Despite that, we have survived two deployments, numerous TDYs, seven moves, five PCSs, and two wonderful, wild children. The only way I've made it through all those trials is because of the relationships I have built. It is soul-saving when Murphy's Law gives you the worst beating ever and your people show up for you. Solidarity is empowering, and nobody should ever feel alone. I aim to live intentionally, show empathy, and always pay it forward.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have served on the board of three spouses clubs for the past four years. I started as the sub-club leader, then Programs chair, Hospitality, and am currently serving as the Vice President of the Goodfellow Spouses + Community. Each one has been drastically different, with their own successes and challenges. I believe the essence of a great leader is self-awareness. Oftentimes, we spend so much time focusing on our weaknesses when we should be honing in on our innate abilities. We are not meant to be great at everything or do everything ourselves! And guess what? Others possess skills that might not come naturally to us. Identifying strengths in ourselves and others is the best way to form a comprehensive, well-oiled team. I am also a Key Spouse Mentor for the 17th Security Forces Squadron at Goodfellow AFB. Military life can be truly overwhelming & confusing, especially for newcomers. Offering resources, lending support, & continually showing up is how I show my service.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Volunteering allows me to help others while finding purpose. Since our most recent PCS in June 2023, I have volunteered 1000+ hours. In addition to my role as Vice President of the GSC, I am our Charitable & Scholarship Chair. All sales from our recently renovated thrift store fund both monthly community grants & our annual educational scholarship. We've helped support our local Purple Star schools with extra clothing, provided baby gifts for our MFRC Bundles for Babies classes, served Thanksgiving dinner at the chow hall, bagged roughly 20K cookies to hand out to military students, mentored spouses, and connected with community partners and base helping agencies. Within my Master of Social Work program, I have done extensive research on challenges that military children face and policy work to improve housing assistance to the unhoused, including veterans.

Describe how you support your community:
I support this wonderful community by showing up & speaking up. The social worker within me excels at identifying system gaps and ways to fill those needs. As part of the EFMP program, I try to help others navigate finding resources, especially during times of transition. I attend key spouse meetings to hear community concerns, advocate those concerns to base leadership, and help brainstorm solutions. We receive many donations at the thrift store, where we recycle uniform items to the Airmen's Attic and Civil Air Patrol. Advertising the GSC grant program and spreading the word about our mission has allowed us to fill impactful requests not only in our local community but nationwide.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I'm a huge advocate for mental health and empowering others to live intentionally & authentically. There are too many injustices in this world, and I strive to be a pillar of integrity, inclusivity, and accountability.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Transparency breeds trust, and shame dies in the light. Unfortunately, stigma still exists within the military and remains a barrier to seeking help. I spread the message by living in my truth and being open and honest during conversations. I am not shy about sharing personal struggles, those we have faced in our marriage and military journey because I know others can relate or find strength in our experiences.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
The AFI Military Spouse of the Year network is vast and full of exceptional leaders. With this opportunity, I plan to collaborate with other spouses to improve resources for military families, implement professional licensure compacts, influence legislation for military spouse employment, and strengthen relationships within & surrounding our military community.


Bree Berger cannot rest if she sees a need unmet. Bree arrived at Goodfellow in June of 2023, and jumped in immediately as Vice President for Goodfellow Spouses & Community. Since then she has spent hundreds of hours revitalizing our thrift store, which now brings in roughly twice what it did before she arrived every day that it is open. In addition to her work with the GSC, Bree is a hard-working Key Spouse Mentor, assists in any way she can with the SFS booster club, and is constantly connecting people with resources and opportunities in our community. Bree is also a fabulous friend, who watches everyone’s kids, keeps tabs on the griefs and celebrations in everyone’s lives and acknowledges them, and checks in on us when we’re struggling. She somehow manages all of this while parenting, completing a Master’s degree, and supporting her husband, Jeremy in his first command. We love you, Bree!! You make Goodfellow AFB a better place.
- by Monica Poulsen