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By Kristian DePue, Staff Writer
/ Published February 15, 2022
Aleha Landry has been nominated for inclusion in the Armed Forces Insurance’s Military Spouse of the Year, 2022 edition. Here she poses for a photo with her husband, U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Landry, 19th Space Operations Squadron crew commander, Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Aleha Landry campaigns for mental health care for military service personnel. (U.S. Space Force courtesy photo)
Aleha Landry has a passion for changing mental health support and programs. Her efforts over the past 13 years lead to her nomination for inclusion in the Armed Forces Insurance’s 2022 Military Spouse of the Year.
The AFI MSOY award was founded in 2008 to honor military spouses from all branches of service and recognizes military spouses’ crucial contributions and unwavering commitment to the military community and our country.
Aleha’s military spouse is U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Landry an USAF Reserve crew commander with the 19th Space Operations Squadron located at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado.
After Capt. Landry returned from deployment, mental health and medications became a part of the family’s life and journey. Months later, Capt. Landry had to be hospitalized with subsequent weeks of frequent mental health visits, battling severe depression and intrusive thoughts of self-harm.
“I saw the cracks he and our family fell through during the process of him seeking treatment,” said Aleha. “I knew we weren’t alone in this, and I had to do something.”
Noticing shortcomings and inefficiencies, Aleha has committed her time and energy to championing improvements in mental health care and support amidst the military, including writing 15 articles regarding the important, ongoing issue.
“Aleha Landry has been an ardent advocate in gaining access to mental health programs for military members and their families,” said U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Michael Schriever, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander.
“Aleha’s husband is an amazing crew commander with the 19th Space Operations Squadron and has sat several crew rotations executing the 2nd SOPS mission. Capt. Landry’s advocacy for mental health — and Aleha’s for him and our 200-plus Team BlackJack members of 2nd and 19th SOPS — was critical in the most stressful period in GPS operations history. Our Pathfinder’s are better off because of Aleha Landry’s efforts. I know we are on the right track engaging in these hard conversations, looking to connect and help our members in need, and eliminating the stigma associated with this topic.”
To fix the cracks, Landry continues to interface with many USAF leaders and beyond.
“I’ve pushed and successfully made Air Force policy progress, and I’m in talks with Congress for DoD-level changes,” said Landry. “I thoroughly believe that if you support a military family, you better aid the service member and give more comprehensive care.”
When asked how she feels about being a MSOY candidate for 2022, Landry said:
“It caught me by surprise. I work a lot behind the scenes, with contacting offices and working with military members and leadership. After my initial shock, I was very honored because my peers in my cohort are all amazing and fantastic. The nature of this program, by bringing us all together, will only hasten change — because we are all working on something. We’re all trying to bring light into areas where change needs to happen. When all of our voices can come together, change is going happen faster. I’m very honored to be a part of it.”
When asked for what inspires her to continue being a voice for mental health in the military, Landry said:
“My grandmother was an Air Force spouse in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and she has served as an inspiration. Having talked with her, some of the same mentalities still remain 60 years later. It’s time for change, and I’m excited to be a part of the conversation.”