Courtney Barber

Branch: Space Force

Duty Station: Schriever Space Force Base

Number of Deployments: 5

Number of PCS's: 1

Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story started with a wink. Previously, I was committed to never dating anyone in uniform. I feared the stress that I historically heard came with being married to the “uniform” (police, firefighters, military, etc.). This all changed when I met my husband. I was inspired by his character, the way he spoke about service to country, and the love he had for his job. I was in love; I had met my forever best friend. I also quickly realized that this meant changing the way I viewed life, required me to redefine past conceptions of dating and relationships, and was going to test areas of patience as I started a commitment to service of my own. 11 years later, we have experienced hundreds of TDYs, ALS, OTS, SOS, and Weapons School. We have both completed multiple degrees, including my completing my doctorate. We have grown our family to include 3 beautiful girls, one of whom is on the autism spectrum and is almost completely non-verbal. Yet, alongside all of my 24/7 duties to my family and country, I never lost sight of my own goals, passions, and aspirations to support the community, inspire my children, and empower others. I am a business owner, with mental health practices in the state of Colorado and Nevada, whose mission is to support community mental health and overall wellness. I have also sat alongside some of the best commanders and leaders, to collaborate on ways to boost morale (outside of the confines of the classified barriers) and to build connections that strengthen the force. This is not written as proof of my resume, but a shortened way to say that my military story is robust and full of a plethora of ups and downs, as it is for many of us. All of which have led to having a unique network founded through our commitment and service to the United States Air Force and the United States Space Force. I know that no matter where we are asked to serve, this network will be with me, and I am with them.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I believe in leading from a servant leadership style. As an avid volunteer and advocate for active-duty military families and members, my goal is to always look for an opportunity to empower others and lead by example. I have been appointed as a Key Spouse for multiple unit levels, the last being Delta 9 at Schriever SFB. My passion for supporting the Delta extends from the desire to execute the role of the Key Spouse while also engaging from the perspective and seat of a spouse in the squadron. This has meant working with leadership to facilitate events and create resources that can be of support to the member and their loved ones. We have also held family picnics, dinners for dorm members and created take-home quick-access resources to remove some of the guesswork for those newly assigned to the Delta. I feel fortunate to be a part of softening the rigid space, that many of us feel, between the natural secrecy of the mission and the inability to relate to the work life of our member.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
In 2023, I assisted in leading a record-breaking growth in the number of members served, events sponsored, supplies and food delivered, and volunteer hours donated to causes critical to the CO Front Range community. This included game nights for guardians in the dorms, providing them a sense of home, comfort and community. I engaged in connecting and strengthening the partner/spouse community by supporting appreciation luncheons of deployed members. Additionally, I continue to serve the families of the 328th Weapons Squadron at Nellis AFB, by sending tokens of appreciation, birthday cards, and small gifts to the partners/spouses and children of members currently enrolled as they spend six months away from their loved ones. Lastly, in true fulfillment of my calling, I recently supported a spousal connection group, providing information and coping skills to 22 USSF spouses to strengthen their mental health during the holidays; work I intend to continue and expand upon.

Describe how you support your community:
I have had a restless resolve in supporting the community and striving to lead by example. This includes empowering other spouses to follow their ambitions and passions. I currently own three mental health practices focusing on counseling and wellness services. One of these locations was opened after hearing feedback from local military spouses and their concern over access to quality care and providers who understand military life. I actively seek to interview/hire active-duty partners/spouses, as well as veterans, for student intern and employment opportunities; providing a deeper understanding of their unique circumstances and in an attempt to prevent disruption of their overarching goal. Lastly, I engage in driving efforts towards autism support services, especially ones unique to the military child. The work that I get to be a part of, especially across two high-risk locations for veterans’ mental health, is more rewarding than words can express.

What do you advocate for? Why?
It is too often I hear stereotypes about military spouses, ones that assume that this life is easy; it is not. So many of us push through the emotions of loneliness, loss, grief, and missed milestones with our member. We live with an undercurrent of worry and fear over our member’s safety, mental health, stress levels, and the overall impact that all of this may be having on our children. Many of us have our own goals and aspirations but have left career paths, or desires, to support the mission. I became determined to find a way to honor my commitment while keeping my sense of purpose and found a deep passion for helping others to do the same. I strive to create a supportive environment that provides mentorship and a place for spouses to be creative, to toss around ideas, without judgment and with a shared understanding. I believe we are better, and stronger, together. Support, connection, advocacy, collaboration, and EMPOWERMENT are all things that I advocate for.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have spread my message through action and connection. This includes engaging in online spousal networks, organizing Key Spouse events, meeting families, being an open advocate when speaking to the public and discussing the importance of connection, providing support and mental health with leadership. I also engage in open mentorship, with fellow partners/spouses, where I have been able to spread the message of the importance of mental health in the military, as well as support fellow partners/spouses in their pursuit of purpose and achievement; encouraging others to carry this message forward. Along this journey, I have struggled with anxiety and depression, and I have had to learn lessons the hard way (and will continue to do so, as such is being human), but it is through transparency, sharing my own story, humility and the aforementioned efforts that I share my message and hope to inspire others to do the same.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
My passion and advocacy for mental health awareness runs deep. I have seen the military make changes and advancements in these areas but there is still a stigma, for members and their dependents. There are also barriers to accessing care, ones that not only impact the dependents but create undue stress on the member, therefore threatening their ability to focus on the mission. The Space Force has already shown an openness to being innovative in its approach to family and support. With this title, I hope to connect and collaborate with individuals already working on this cause, providing support through connection and research. Lastly, I aim to inspire and empower every single partner/spouse who has ever felt alone, sad, depressed, anxious, rushed, stuck, or set back by another PCS, TDY, or deployment. If I can do this, trust me, you can too. I am tremendously grateful for, and humbled by, this nomination and thank you for your consideration.


Courtney Barber embodies strength in her ability to inspire others, exemplify love of community, adapt to complex circumstances, and persevere to overcome anything. As an entrepreneur & full-time mother, Courtney has had a restless resolve in achieving her own goals, shouldering her family to success, and building the community. She is a business owner of three mental health practices focusing on empowering individuals, couples, and families through counseling and wellness services and drives efforts towards autism services support. Her day-to-day hustle to provide care to others, while also managing a family and her desired duties has a military spouse, is driven by her passion to advocate for spouses to have their own passions, ambitions, and goals outside of their spouse’s military career. Her devotion to community healing, across two high-risk locations for veterans’ mental health, means that she is poised to represent the needs and voices of military spouses across the country.
- by Daisy Seballes