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Hurlburt focuses on families through nursing rooms

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bailey Miller, an imagery analyst with the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, and her daughter spend time in the 1st SOSS nursing room at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Sept. 29, 2020. Approximately 14 units on Hurlburt have designated safe, clean and private spaces for family rooms to support Air Commandos and their families with plans to establish more soon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

A sign is displayed outside of the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron nursing room in the 1 SOSS at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Sept. 29, 2020. Approximately 14 units on Hurlburt have designated safe, clean and private spaces for family rooms to support Air Commandos and their families with plans to establish more soon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Items for lactation breaks such as an oil diffuser and a baby bottle warmer and sterilizer are available for mothers in the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron nursing room at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Sept. 29, 2020. Approximately 14 units on Hurlburt have designated safe, clean and private spaces for family rooms to support Air Commandos and their families with plans to establish more soon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --

Units across Hurlburt Field welcomed the application of the U.S. Air Force Guidance Memorandum implemented August 14, 2020, establishing the requirement of lactation rooms for nursing mothers.

This new memorandum requires units to provide a safe, quiet space for new mothers to take lactation breaks and a space to store milk. The memorandum instructions detail the responsibilities and procedural steps to enable commanders to align the needs of nursing mothers with mission requirements. Approximately 14 units on Hurlburt have already designated spaces for family rooms to support Air Commandos and their families with plans to establish more soon.

"I think it’s a very positive step forward following all of the changes that were implemented DoD-wide with the parental leave that provided more time for new mothers, spouses, and adoptive parents to take time with their families," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Veronica Williams, commander of the 505th Communications Squadron. "This is an excellent step forward in ensuring that we are taking care of our Airmen to the best of our ability within the work environment."

This improvement allows Airmen to pursue their careers while also starting or growing their families without some of the added stress of returning to work. Not only are the family rooms for new mothers, but these spaces are also open to new mothers, fathers, and mil-to-mil couples who need a space to take care of their families while fulfilling their duties at work.

"I think it's important for these spaces to fit everyone in the unit, even with primarily male units with very few females," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Imani Freeman, NCO in-charge of Resource Protection with the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron. "A decent population of single dads in the military could utilize a room to take care of their families while also continuing the mission. I'm happy we included everyone in the planning for the family room here in security forces."

The application of these family rooms has allowed military members to manage their priorities on an equal level. This policy ensures supervisors provide Airmen and civilian employees’ time to utilize the lactation room while balancing mission work schedules. Due to this, Airmen across the force can continue its mission while ensuring their children's care and well-being.

"The Air Force is a family, so, by extension, we are taking care of our service members' families as well,” said Williams. “They are the most valuable asset that the Air Force has. You're never going to get the mission done without people, so if you take care of your people, you are ensuring that the mission gets done day in and day out."

Improvements such as this support the total force and contribute to Airmen's readiness. By continuing to accommodate Airmen and their families, the Air Force can maintain and improve mission capabilities. Information regarding the family rooms’ locations will soon be available on the 1st Special Operations Wing section of the Air Force Connect App and the Hurlburt Field website.

"Having the ability to support our Airmen through any significant life change is incredibly essential," said Williams, "ensuring that this is one of these significant life changes that we bolster support for is key.”