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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

Navy League Hosts CNAL Spouse Working Group

by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bonnie Lindsay
08 May 2023 Navy League Hampton Roads hosted a Navy spouse working group, in  coordination with Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL), to provide the spouses of senior leaders in naval aviation an opportunity to advocate for issues that are important to them and their families, May 5. 
Rachel Meier speaks standing up in front of a crowd
SLIDESHOW | 4 images | CNAL Hosts Spouse Working Group NORFOLK, Va. (May 5, 2023) Rachel Meier, spouse of Rear Adm. John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL), speaks at the first ever CNAL Spouse Working Group, May 23. This event is intended to provide spouses of senior leaders in naval aviation an opportunity to advocate for issues that are important to them and their families directly. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bonnie Lindsay)

The event focused on how the Navy can better retain leadership talent in naval aviation, especially at the senior ranks of lieutenant commander (O-4), commander (O-5) and captain (O-6), through dialogue with spouses and family. The goal of the working group was to discuss the quality of service for spouses and families, and address issues that are negatively or positively affecting retention for these families, amongst other topics.
Rear Adm. John F. Meier, commander, CNAL, spoke at the working group to provide his perspective on the importance of providing a forum like this, through the help of the Navy League, to support military spouses.
“This working group allows my staff and I to hear directly from spouses, share information from the command-level, determine what I can fix and what I cannot fix, and then elevate the concerns and recommendations higher,” said Meier. “We can only affect change through conversation and constructive feedback. Spouses of military members play an important role in the everyday lives of our service members.”
The working group provided multiple breakout sessions throughout the day encouraging spouses to speak freely, in a safe environment of their peers, about their personal experiences and opinions of life as a military family.
“Serving in the Navy is not only about the service member. It is also about the family, and we were excited for the opportunity to voice our thoughts and opinions on how we can improve the Navy military lifestyle for the entire family,” said Lauren Littman, a Navy spouse.
Littman thanked the Navy League for hosting the event, as well as Meier and his spouse, Rachel, for attending and enhancing conversations.
“We are being heard and seen by our leadership and it is encouraging to know we can contribute to positive change and improve families’ lives. It helps validate how much we, as spouses, are a part of the lifestyle and the service," emphasized Littman.
Meier concluded the event by highlighting that the opinions and concerns shared during the working group would be reviewed and taken seriously as CNAL works to enhance the quality of life for service members and their families.
“I don’t know that we, as a Navy, have given spouses the voice that we should,” said Meier. “The vision is that we grow this working group into something bigger and potentially an event that occurs at least once a year moving forward.”
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