New Key Spouse Mentor embraces resiliency within Wing

  • Published
  • By Ms. Michelle Gigante
  • 919th Special Operations Wing
The 919th Special Operations Wing recently welcomed a new Key Spouse Mentor who stepped into the role with a strong commitment to supporting Citizen Air Commandos and their families with personable peer-to-peer support.

Muscarella, who was previously a 919th Special Operations Force Support Squadron key spouse, took over the position this month after being groomed for the role.

“I feel I am a natural born cheerleader for the Key Spouse Program,” said Muscarella. “As Key Spouse Mentors, that’s what we are doing--we are ambassadors in the background, keeping leadership informed, and key spouses engaged to support their squadrons.”

Muscarella shared the Key Spouse Mentor role with Laura Nimmo, the 919th SOW former Key Spouse Mentor, for approximately four months and intends to use the experience to ensure continuity of the program.

“I’m so excited to see Tanya take over the Key Spouse Program at Duke Field,” said Nimmo. “She will be an excellent advocate for the Airmen and families in the Wing going forward.”

The Key Spouse Program is an official commander’s program designed to address the needs of military families and establish a sense of Air Force community. Key spouses and Key Spouse Mentors serve as liaisons by bridging communication gaps, providing informal support as needed, and administering ongoing awareness of community resources.

Additionally, key spouses and Key Spouse Mentors are trained volunteers whose role is to care for families and provide them with information from their squadron’s leadership about events, programs, and other available resources during periods of separation.

“Moving to a new place or a new squadron can sometimes bring loneliness, without resources like the Key Spouse Program,” said Muscarella. “We are made for relationships and community as human beings, and I like this [program], no matter what is going on, the Key Spouse Program is there.”

Muscarella’s interest in the Key Spouse Program is linked to her interest in cultivating new relationships, her interpersonal experience in the public relations career field and as a professional athlete. Skillsets from each endeavor provided her with experience in community outreach and media engagements, an ideal characteristic for an effective Key Spouse Mentor.

“I had amazing coaches, and amazing people building me up,” said Muscarella.

Her desire to serve and enhance the lives of others made her a logical choice for the position, according to Wing officials.

“Tanya's positive attitude and caring heart meshes well with the qualities of the Key Spouse Program and I think she is a great advocate for our military community," said Col. Kevin Merrill, 919th SOW commander.

“The military speaks to me, the organization, the details, there is no small job in the betterment of our country,” said Muscarella. “I respect it immensely.”

Muscarella hopes to see the Key Spouse Program grow and plans to continue to connect with other spouses, and attract new key volunteers to help organize meet-ups. One of the past team-bonding activities was held at Black Water River State Park.

“It was a nice offsite, nice drive, and it was my crash course for getting to know the people in the squadron,” said Muscarella. “I got to be in this fun environment where we all did skits of what we thought 919th SOFSS did, they were funny and adorable and really got me into the personalities of people.”

While Muscarella has now taken the reins of the new key spouse mentor, Nimmo expressed gratitude for her time with the Wing, “I would like to thank the members of Team Duke for allowing me to serve as the key spouse mentor,” said Nimmo.

To see more of what the 919th SOW Key Spouse Program is about or to see a calendar of events, be sure to check out the Duke Field Spouses Facebook page at