Jennifer Christine Dobbs

Branch: Air Force

Duty Station: Minot Air Force Base

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 5

Share your military spouse story:
One word: covid-19. My husband & I met because of COVID-19 and the restrictions that eventually came with it. We met in Okinawa, Japan, in July 2020, as I, a Tokyo resident who was in the last stages of my Ph.D. dissertation, decided to have a change of atmosphere from my tiny apartment especially since foreign residents were forbidden to leave Japan. His PCS to Minot, ND, was rescheduled three times: March, June, and August. Had it not been for the third delay or rescheduling, we wouldn’t have met since we lived in different places. When Japan allowed foreign residents to leave and be admitted upon return to Japan, I visited him in Minot. Needless to say, he was happy and pleasantly surprised. We did the long-distance thing between Tokyo and Minot. While in Minot and even as just his girlfriend, I got to meet people from his squadron as well as other military spouses who have all been welcoming. Then in 2022, we finally made it official and got married. In all these, I have been going through 3 PCS, 1 deployment, and 6 apartment/house moves with him. However, my first challenge as a military spouse was not being able to work yet as my immigration process is still ongoing. After having been quite active, this predicament was something I did not allow to hinder me from being productive. Since November 2022, I am proud to share that I have volunteered to about 16 organizations and working groups in Minot off and on base, virtual and in person. Some of these are Ohana Homefront Foundation, MAFB Spouse Resilience Team, MAFB AAPI Group, MAFB Suicide Prevention Team (SRT), and Foreign-Born Military Spouse Network. Throughout my volunteer positions, I expanded my network & hope to reach more people. Despite only being a military spouse for about 18 months, I have slowly discovered my purpose and value in this community and although we have left Minot, I remain to be a military spouse and would not stop helping other fellow spouses in any way I can.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In the 18 months I have been a military spouse, I served as a core and founding member of the Minot AFB Spouse Resilience Team, which is the pilot program for resilience in Minot AFB. I am also the only spouse member (education consultant) volunteer for the Suicide Prevention Training Curriculum Revision. I have likewise served as a Key Spouse of 5CES, Grant & Development Director of Ohana, Lead Spouse Resilience Trainer Assistant (RTA), Spouse Member of the Minot AFB Asian American Pacific Islander group, and Project and Development Director of Yokosuka Council on Asia Pacific Studies (YCAPS). I have likewise volunteered for the following: Minot AFB Month of the Military Child 2023 Working Group, MAFB Childcare Working Group, Starbase Minot, Hair of the Dog Fun Run, Together with Veterans, and Northern Sentry. In October 2023, I co-founded the Foreign-Born Military Spouse Network, which aims to address the needs and challenges of foreign-born spouses in all military branches.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Even when my husband & I were still dating, I have always been actively helping within my husband's unit or sharing inf (esp. financial & educational) w/ other spouses/partners. I was a military brat to my dad who served in the PAF so I had a front-row exposure too. Admittedly though, the US military is a whole new community but if your heart is where it is, any interaction could have some value added to it. Sharing & organizing information online is what I do especially on events, & employment opportunities. When we got married, I went full blast & scoured volunteer opportunities. I timed in about 400 hours of volunteer work for the base & the community in 18 organizations & working groups. The two closest to my heart were w/ MAFB SRT & the Suicide Prevention Team as they directly tried to provide solutions to the mental health situation. Currently, I am one of the co-founders of the Foreign-Born Military Spouse Network, to address & support the unique challenges of military spouses.

Describe how you support your community:
Supporting the community I am part of is integral to me. As an educator, I find myself sharing info on educational & prof. dev't activities not just for military spouses but for the entire military community as well. I share various FB pages in my husband’s unit & the rest of the base. I also reach out to MFRC & other groups on how else to increase involvement. I also connect w/ veteran groups such as TWV (Minot) and CAP. Also, I make sure support spills over to our host community. As the Lead Spouse RTA, I conducted Resilience Training during FTEC briefings & represented spouses at resilience-related events. In my role with MAFB SRT, we organized events for awareness & engagement. I helped revamp the Suicide Prevention Training curriculum. I am also a member of the Foreign-Born Mil Spouse Network. As a whole, I find myself becoming an unofficial advocate for mil spouses (& Minot AFB). Last Nov., I attended my first-ever MIC & met more people who share the same passion & purpose.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for Mental Health as well as Support for Foreign-Born MilSpouses. I struggled & had to face my mental health challenges; thankfully, despite distance & COVID, I was able to bounce back through support from family& friends. Since then, I promised myself to try to help anyone going through something. Having no information about Minot before arrival, I did not realize that Minot was facing similar challenges. I advocate for mil spouses' resilience as they are the ones in charge of the household so that their service member spouse can further do their jobs & fulfill the mission. I heard countless struggles from spouses (young ones too as a good number of first-term airmen are in Minot) who try to navigate being an adult, a wife, a parent, & so many other roles. This family readiness through spouses is a significant scaffolding for the service member. I also advocate for foreign-born spouses as they face challenges such as immigration, un/underemployment, culture shock, etc.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
In being a military spouse for only 18 months, I have actively engaged and thrown myself into virtual (social media pages) and in-person opportunities and events to further bring a voice to my advocacy. I have devoted and attended meetings (both in-person and virtually) with key stakeholders to discuss how to further support and address the issues. I have also designed a survey to gather information from spouses on what they feel is the necessary type of support. If needed, I reach out to other people and organizations to foster partnerships. I have designed several infographics to further promote awareness and increase engagement.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
With the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title, I hope to bring forth more awareness, attention, and action to the needs and challenges of military spouses. In the past year, I have been an advocate for highlighting support for military spouses, especially mental health and wellness. Moreover, I also wanted to emphasize the unique challenges of foreign-born spouses such as myself. With a respected platform that has a wide reach, I hope to further connect and expand my advocacies to provide more relevant and valuable support. I firmly believe that information should be shared with everyone and having AFI behind me could further enable successful collaborations and respectful conversations to materialize. I hope to continue raising awareness about military spouse challenges as addressing these leads to family readiness and translates, in my own opinion, to military readiness.


Dedicated to the husband’s needs and welfare; create opportunities to be of help to other spouses of military personnel through family support and “listening session”.
- by Amelia Fajardo

Jenni has a pure passion for helping others and adding value to each interaction and it is an honor and pleasure to nominate her. In the time I have known her, she has consistently shown her commitment to both educational and military programs through volunteering and spearheading efforts to support our base, Minot AFB. For the year 2023, she was able to provide 400+ hours of volunteer work. Her contribution to the military spouses has been tremendous, especially in mental health and wellness. She's a founding member of the Minot AFB Spouse Resilience Team. Her SRT work enabled her to be a vital member of the Integrated Suicide Prevention Team. I firmly believe that Jenni will continue to do great things for her fellow military spouses. Her initiative and skills will continue to make an impact in a community where it is direly needed.”
- by Tanoa Williams