American300 Public Affairs- by Mike Lane
Armed Forces Bases, Alaska - Placing special guests on military bases around the world is what our Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment office, headquartered at Andrews Air Force Base does on a monthly basis. The same can be said for the nonprofit American300.org. This week the DoD and American300 are teaming up to place a family with
service members stationed in Alaska. The tour aptly titled: 'American Astronaut Family' will travel to US Coast Guard Stations, Air Force Bases and Stations and Army Bases, throughout the state.
No astronaut goes to space alone. They not only have the full backing of their fellow space comrades, mission control, hundreds of thousands of co-workers; but just as importantly, the love, dedication and support of their family. In Dr Steve Swanson’s case, that transcends state and country boundaries and ages including twin 19-month-old grandsons and up.
Most immediately, we often think of the six person crew aboard the International Space Station as enduring the brunt of hardships of the mission. However, those same daily difficulties apply to those who stay home responsible for keeping the family running financially, emotionally and psychologically.
Fortunate for Steve, his wife, Mary, a nurse practitioner with the University of Texas Health Science, serves as the backbone of his support group. She doesn’t do it alone, but relies on their three adult children, Scott, Caroline and Quinn, to round out the home base squad.
Understanding what their dad is going through plays a vital role in keeping spirits strong on earth and high above. A chief warrant officer in the US Army flying helicopters, Steve’s oldest, Scott, is stationed in Fairbanks, AK, but recently returned himself from a 9-month deployment to Korea. A mother to twin boys, Caroline holds a degree in computer science similar to her father and understands social and electronic media, a vital link between Expedition 40 commander and the planet. Rounding out the base crew is Quinn, the youngest sibling, who just started his first year of college and carries the young opened-eye spirit that anything is possible. Beyond their specialties, humor, fun and good-natured spirit complete the package.
Today’s technology including email, social posts, mobile calls and video conference, makes the distance appear smaller, but being away is still difficult for all. Only though a dedicated family support team is the hardship lessened and the Swanson clan understands firsthand what our military families are challenged with on a daily basis.
Armed Forces Entertainment and American300 are honored to showcase this family and provide opportunities of military families to meet and share with the Swanson's. In addition to visiting units, local units have also scheduled several elementary and high school visits where students will be afforded the opportunity to learn about space and meet the Astronaut and his family.
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American300 is a non-government organization. The nonprofit 501c3 all volunteer organization is managed by Army Veteran Robi Powers, of Colorado who serves as a host to over 30 unique resiliency minded tours per year. No federal endorsement is intended or implied - American300.org