Natalie Ricketts

Branch: Air Force

Duty Station: Ramstein Air Base

Number of Deployments: 1

Number of PCS's: 3

Share your military spouse story:
My journey in the Air Force intersected with my personal life when I met my spouse during my active-duty tenure at Langley AFB. Although our marriage is relatively recent, having taken place in October 2019 amid the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has already withstood significant tests. In January 2021, following the lifting of restrictions, my spouse came out to me as transgender. I embraced the role of her staunchest advocate, actively assisting in managing the requisite medical documentation and ensuring that our home provides her with a safe space full of love and acceptance. Transitioning from active duty to the role of a military spouse at Ramstein Air Base has been an adjustment. Despite this transition, I have discovered a sense of purpose through volunteer work. Leveraging my familiarity with Air Force Personnel Manual (AFPM) and Air Force Instructions (AFI), I have been actively engaged in advocating for transgender service members. However, my commitment extends beyond mere advocacy, as I lend support to individuals navigating the intricacies of paperwork associated with transgender military service. Through my voluntary contributions, I find fulfillment in channeling my passion for assisting others. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness and foster a culture of understanding and compassion within the military community.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In September 2022, as a response to a series of homophobic articles and comments that had affected our base in June of the same year, I undertook the founding of KMC Pride. This non-profit organization is dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ identifying Department of Defense (DoD) members, veterans, families, and allies. Our multifaceted approach includes organizing events, service projects, Pride activities, support groups, and advocacy efforts. In my capacity as the President of KMC Pride, I have successfully coordinated two cabaret fundraisers, facilitated five informative lunch-and-learn events, and collaborated with base agencies to establish the inaugural KMC area Pride picnic. These endeavors reflect my commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community within the military and beyond. I’ve also attend Americans Working Around the Globe (AWAG) seminars whose mission is building leaders to strengthen and connect communities around the globe.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Navigating the challenges associated with transitioning to a new environment presents inherent difficulties. As a first-time active duty dependent at Ramstein Air Base, I have encountered and grappled with various obstacles in my job search. While I had received forewarnings about these challenges, experiencing them firsthand has provided me with a distinct perspective. The complexities of job hunting, have left me with free time, which led me to other opportunities provided by the base. Engaging as an enthusiastic volunteer, I have dedicated my time and energy to Airmen's Attic, USO, Democrats Abroad and holiday support with Ramstein USPS. Furthermore, I maintain a busy schedule through my involvement with KMC Pride, where I assume responsibilities for organizing base events and socials. In our off time alongside my wife, we bring high energy to installation karaoke nights. Our memorable performances are recognized by everyone in the community

Describe how you support your community:
In my role as the President and Founder of KMC Pride, my overarching objective is to effect meaningful change in the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals through the provision of education, advocacy, and support. I provide a platform where individuals can gather to share their experiences, challenges, successes, and moments of joy. Our mission extends to cultivating a positive representation of LGBTQ+ service members and ensuring their access to essential resources for holistic Ill-being. Through our commitment to community involvement, KMC Pride aims to create an environment where LGBTQ+ individuals not only find support but also thrive. Furthermore, when not engaged in volunteering with KMC Pride, I dedicate my time to supporting the USO during their special events throughout the KMC area. This multifaceted involvement underscores my commitment to fostering a sense of community and support for service members and their families.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Throughout our journey, my wife and I have consistently been each other's staunchest supporters. In June 2022, the pride events at Ramstein Air Base were regrettably canceled the incident left us disheartened. As a queer couple recently relocated to the area, we had eagerly anticipated participating in our first pride month on Ramstein, hoping to discover a sense of community. Our disappointment deepened when we realized the absence of advocacy programs for the queer community within the base. With only seven months on Ramstein and my wife still in the early stages of her transition, the lack of such programs left us feeling excluded and yearning for a genuine sense of belonging. Motivated by our disappointment and a steadfast determination to foster inclusivity, I founded KMC Pride. The objective was clear: to establish a community where everyone is not only welcome but celebrated.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I am dedicated to the spreading the message of the importance of inclusive events and a safe space for all. KMC Pride overarching goal is to foster awareness and impart education on LGBTQ issues, a mission we actively pursue through the organization of diverse monthly events. These events include initiatives such as free Pride stickers and pronoun pin giveaways at the KMCC mall, monthly social gatherings, and take-home craft events tailored for children aged 10-18. To further our educational objectives, we conduct quarterly lunch and learn sessions. These sessions feature informative presentations encompassing LGBTQ history, inclusive language, and various related topics through educational powerpoints. Importantly, these sessions serve as a safe and open space where individuals can pose questions about the LGBTQ community that they might not feel comfortable asking elsewhere.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
The AFI Military Spouse of the Year Program is a vast network of professionals, advocates, volunteers, and influencers. Winning and even just getting nominated provides a unique opportunity to connect with other individuals in the military community. Being able to connect with community would provide connections I wouldn't be able to make before. This could help in discovering new challenges within the community and raising awareness about them.


I had the opportunity to interview Natalie for work. She is the president and founder of KMC Pride. The organization provides safe and fun events and activities for the LGTBQIA+ community and their allies in the Kaiserslautern Military Community area. Don't mind as I plagarize myself from the interview I had with her: She stated, “Ramstein is one of the biggest bases overseas. My wife is trans and the real reason I started it is because of her.” When asked about the most fulfilling aspects of working with KMC Pride, she responded “Being able to provide those ‘safe spaces’ …to have that community … where you can feel like you can just be yourself … that is why I keep volunteering.” KMC Pride work with the schools and youth programs. They host “Lunch and Learn” events around awareness days. They have quarterly socials and monthly social hours. They hold dances for members of the community who may not have gotten to be their true selves at their first prom.
- by Tamala Malerk

I am thrilled to nominate Natalie Ricketts for the prestigious title of Military Spouse of the Year. Natalie has exhibited unwavering dedication and resilience as the spouse of a transgender woman while championing LGBTQIA+ rights at Ramstein Air Force Base. Natalie has also taken an active role in advocating for equality and inclusivity within the military community as the leader and president of the non-profit organization, KMC Pride. Her tireless efforts have made a significant impact, fostering an environment of acceptance for LGBTQIA+ service members and their families. Natalie exemplifies the qualities of strength, compassion, and leadership that embody an exceptional military spouse. Her commitment to her spouse and her advocacy work at Ramstein Air Force Base serve as an inspiration to us all. Please consider her for this well-deserved recognition as she continues to make a positive difference in the lives of military families and the LGBTQIA+ community.