Host Family Handbook
A Partnership of Caring

P. O. Box 80571
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198 (505) 503-5598



The Home Away From Home Program offers select community leaders a unique and rewarding opportunity to provide Airmen a home away from home during their first enlistment in the military. The program also offers community leaders the opportunity to meet first-hand the fine young Air Force men and women of Kirtland Air Force Base, tomorrow’s leaders. If you have the desire and commitment to make a difference in an Airman’s life, this is the program for you!

This informational brochure has been designed to not only encourage your participation in the program, but to aid you as a host family. It offers valuable insight on five major areas:

  •  Section I outlines the philosophy surrounding the Home Away From Home Program

  • Sections II and III provide perspective into an Airman’s life and responsibilities at Kirtland Air Force Base

  • Section IV gives general information on a variety of topics concerning your responsibility as a host family

  • Section V presents guidance on how and when to contact Airmen including a telephone directory for First Sergeants and other useful phone numbers

On behalf of Kirtland AFB, we wish to express our appreciation to you for your active involvement in the Home Away From Home Program. As a partner in caring, not only will you play a significant role in the life of an Airman, but you may also find it to be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  



The Home Away From Home Program is designed to provide Airmen an avenue to form friendships and gather support beyond the formal work environment. If you can remember leaving the comfort and security of your parents’ home, you will understand the needs of young men and women in the Home Away From Home Program. Rigorous military standards can be taxing for some military members, bringing on moments of loneliness, homesickness and doubt. As a host family, you can provide a home away from home during an Airman or Enlisted Student’s first years at Kirtland AFB. You serve as their life mentor, friend, and advisor, providing a caring environment where they can relax away from work. You are also in the position to serve as a positive adult role model and can reinforce positive social values.

The Home Away From Home Program attempts to match host families with Airmen who share the same basic interests. Airmen can request host families by name. When two families request the same Airman, we honor the wishes of the Airman.

The official program relationship lasts for the duration of the time that the Airman resides in the Kirtland AFB Dormitories (dorms) but may continue outside of this program’s parameters.


Visit the Home Away From Home Program website at to learn the details regarding the application process. If you have questions, please call (505) 503-5598 or email The application process includes a requirement for all adult family members living at the host’s home address to undergo and pass a background check through the NM Department of Public Safety. Additionally, you are required to sign an Agreement, Release and Liability Waiver releasing Team Kirtland Home Away From Home, Inc. and the Air Force from any liability in connection with your service as a host family. Be advised Airmen are not required to sign a liability waiver releasing you from any liability.



To successfully interact with an Airman, it’s important to understand their professional life. This section is designed to familiarize host families with a few military terms and acronyms.


AF Air Force
AFI Air Force Instruction – the instructions provide a set of policies and guidelines outlining Air Force operating procedures
Career Field Work group definition that specifies required duty tasks
Chow Hall/Dining Facility/DFAC A restaurant equivalent that serves primarily first-term Airmen, located on Kirtland AFB in close proximity to the dorms
DOD Department of Defense
Group An organization comprised of two or more squadrons
NCOIC Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (enlisted)
OI Operating Instruction (outlines how an organization conducts business)
OIC Officer in Charge (officer)
Office of Special Investigation OSI; AF investigative office for serious crime allegations
PCS Permanent Change of Station—a move to a new location
POV Privately Owned Vehicle
SFS Security Forces Squadron—law enforcement equivalent
Shirt/First Sergeant Senior enlisted member responsible for squadron disciplinary and personnel issues
Squadron A squadron typically averages 250-300 Airmen of all ranks. Additionally, each squadron and group has a full-time Commander who commands the unit and is responsible for its mission completion, and a senior enlisted advisor who is responsible for the morale, welfare, training and utilization of enlisted members.
TDY Temporary Duty (equivalent to a business trip out of town)
UOD Uniform of the Day




In addition to the academic, physical, and military responsibilities the Airmen assume, they are also charged with stringent moral responsibilities. Airmen accept and live by core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do. These values, ingrained into the individual during Basic Training, are based upon the traditional concept that an Airman’s word is his/her bond and that Airmen must be forthright and honest.

“Why Is The Military So Demanding?”

  • The defense of the United States and its concept of deterring war rely heavily upon the ability of the Air Force to discharge its mission properly. In our modern world, we need Airmen of great character, ability, skill, and judgement.

  • The self-discipline, mental toughness, knowledge and leadership skills that our country needs dictate intensive and demanding training.

  • The Air Force Airmen of today are future leaders, and you have an opportunity to encourage and advise them.

Your efforts and concern as a caring participant can make a big difference in assisting an Airman who may need an occasional retreat from the dormitory living environment. Your willingness to give an Airman your time, your attention, and your genuine concern will one day bear fruit far beyond the smiles you will earn from them today. In short, your involvement is vital to the Airman’s experience and the shaping of tomorrow’s leaders.

Daily Airman Life

From overviews on academic requirements to survival training, it will be evident how vital your role as a host family is in the development of an Airman through the off-duty support you provide. The following section is designed to acquaint you with the daily life of an Airman.

  • Academics – First-term Airmen are required to study and pass a variety of courses that strengthen their knowledge in the profession of arms as well as their core specialty.

  • Fitness – Athletic preparation is required of all Airmen. All Airmen must pass a physical fitness test at least annually. Failure to meet standards may result in removal from the military. All Airmen participate in squadron-run and their own personal physical fitness programs. In addition, base-run intramural sports are available for those who are interested.

  • Aviation – All Airmen at Team Kirtland are either aircrew members (work on aircraft) or work directly in support of the USAF mission. Airmen are not pilots.

  • Workdays – Not all Airmen work Monday–Friday nor do all work from 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Rather, some work shifts and some work weekends on a regular basis. This will require some flexibility on your part to meet the needs of your Airman. In addition, the 377th Air Base Wing and the 58th Special Operations Wing often supports short-notice tasking. Please be understanding if your Airman has to cancel plans with only a few days’ notice (or less).

  • Deployments – Depending on their career field, your Airman may deploy during their first term at Kirtland AFB. Deployments typically last 4–6 months.



  • USAF Core Values

  • Integrity First

  • Service Before Self

  • Excellence in All We Do

Wing Commander Guidance

  • Squadrons must have discipline, training, developing, and a focus on our operational mission—be ready for deployment/employment anytime/anywhere

  • Environment must be conducive to growing Airmen—no assault, harassment, abuse, discrimination, drugs allowed

  • Air Force is a family business—protect each other, provide mutual support, treat all Airmen with dignity and respect


Sexual Assault. Sexual Assault is defined as intentional sexual conduct, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commit these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender or spousal relationship or age of victim. For allegations of sexual assault, Kirtland AFB has a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and victim advocates (VA) available to ensure the respectful and dignified care of the victim. Accordingly, if an Airman victim of sexual assault confides in a host family that they were sexually assaulted, the victim should be encouraged to call the SARC immediately at (505) 846-7272 to discuss restricted (confidential) and unrestricted (non-confidential) reporting options.

SARC. The SARC serves as the single point of contact for all Kirtland AFB personnel and acts quickly to integrate and coordinate sexual assault victim care from an initial report of sexual assault, through disposition and resolution of issues related to the victim’s health and well-being. Whether a victim comes forward through restricted or unrestricted channels, the immediate priority is to care for the victim. The SARC and VA are trained first responders who can help the victim understand the dynamics of sexual assault, and put them in touch with other helping agencies to facilitate recovery and help the victim through the investigative and legal processes.

Restricted Report of Sexual Assault. Restricted (confidential) reporting enables Airmen who are victims to report allegations of sexual assault to the installation SARC without triggering a law enforcement investigation. This reporting option gives the victim access to medical care, counseling, chaplain services and a victim advocate, but does not initiate the investigative process. Due to the confidential nature of this reporting option, it is critical that a victim’s chain of command (Squadron Commander, First Sergeant) and law enforcement not be notified of the sexual assault as they are considered mandatory reporters. If a disclosure is made to the victim’s chain of command or law enforcement, a victim will lose confidentiality and an unrestricted report will have to be made.

Unrestricted Report of Sexual Assault. Unrestricted (non-confidential) reporting enables all victims to report allegations of sexual assault through standard reporting channels including the victim’s chain of command, law enforcement (Security Forces Squadron and AF Office of Special Investigations), and the installation SARC. Unrestricted reporting is the preferred reporting method by the Department of Defense and the Air Force because it allows the SARC to provide the widest range of support services to the victim and enables prosecution of alleged perpetrators when investigations warrant those charges. In an unrestricted report, law enforcement concludes an investigation after which commanders and legal authorities may pursue prosecution for the alleged perpetrator. The victim making the unrestricted report has access to medical care, counseling, chaplain services and a victim advocate. At the request of the victim, the SARC and VA can work with the victim’s commander to address duty (work) or disciplinary concerns.

Independent Report. Should information about a sexual assault be disclosed to command or law enforcement from someone other than a victim (i.e. a host family member), an investigation into the allegation will be initiated, and it will be considered an independent report. Commanders must report all sexual assaults they become aware of when it involves individuals in their supervisory chain of command. Law enforcement personnel are required to investigate all crimes they become aware of to include sexual assault.

Bottom Line. All victims of sexual assault can have their questions answered confidentially and receive assistance by contacting the SARC at (505) 846-7272. Contacting the SARC first preserves options for the victim!

Other Crimes. Any crime that occurs in the host family’s home, or in connection with an Airman’s visit with the host family outside of the host family’s home, must be reported to command or law enforcement.



Airmen from Kirtland AFB are held to a very high standard as they are professionals responsible for multi-million dollar pieces of equipment and property. It’s imperative that you understand these standards and help set your Airman up for success. While the Airman you interact with will typically be the age of an average college student, their responsibilities are generally far greater. Failure to live up to their professional responsibilities has the potential to seriously injure fellow service members and can have career-ending effects.

Alcohol and Your Airman Alcohol may not be served to Airmen during Team Kirtland Home Away From Home events, even if your Airman is over the age of 21.

Host Family Activities
You are not required to overextend yourself financially. Airmen do not expect to be entertained or taken out for expensive meals or events. Participating Airmen appreciate the warmth and friendship of your family in their home-away-from-home. Letting them become part of your family is the greatest gift you can give. If your Airman does not have a cell phone and wants to call parents or friends using your phone, suggest he/she acquire a calling card first. Ultimately, the freedom to make a meal, drink a soda, rest, watch TV, or just hang out combined with your willingness to listen and your concern for them as an individual are the most precious gifts these service members can receive.

Airman-Host Family Relationships
Airmen will strive to please you by good behavior to earn a return invitation. They are expected to be courteous guests and to express their gratitude. They are taught to address military supervisors as “Sir” or “Ma’am.” Relations between the host family and Airman need not be excessively formal, and we rely on your good judgment in this area. However, if you experience problems with your Airman, please contact their First Sergeant immediately (phone numbers, listed by military organization, are available at the end of this handbook).

Host Family Benefits
Aside from the personal satisfaction you receive in hosting an Airman, you may be asking yourself what you get in return. Your Airman may invite you to military events, such as awards and promotion ceremonies, as their guest. They may even volunteer to help you with tasks or projects to show you they are genuinely grateful for your caring—that’s why matching based on interests is so important! While the Home Away From Home Program provides many benefits, participants often gain their most satisfying moments by interacting with their Airman, while sharing a family atmosphere. And these family ties can last for years!

Airmen and Autos
Many have their own vehicle, but this is not the case with all first-term Airmen. Lending your vehicle to your Airman is not a responsibility or a requirement. If you choose to do so, you must realize you do so at your own risk and understand the possible negative outcomes of doing so include injury to other drivers and damage to property belonging to others. Safe alternatives to borrowing are commercial transportation, carpooling, and prior coordination of rides with host families. A host family member may pick up your Airman. Host families who do not have regular access to Kirtland AFB may be provided a base pass. Have your Airman coordinate your arrival with the 377 ABW/SFS (Security Forces Squadron) well in advance as required by their operating instruction.

The Host Family’s Role in Correcting the Airman
Airmen need to learn from their mistakes…that’s part of life. Overlooking an error, mistake, or bad judgement will only allow them to continue the behavior. One program best practice is to establish house rules for Airmen visiting your home. From a practical standpoint, it’s unfair to expect Airmen to follow your rules if you don’t tell them what the rules are from the start. Your house rules must clearly and accurately reflect your expectations of your Airman’s behavior in your home.

Suggested house rules:

  • Respect the right of everyone to our own opinions and the right to disagree with the opinions of others.

  • Please let me know early (define) if you’d like to visit my home, so I may plan accordingly.

  • If you are unable to visit for an extended length of time, a courtesy call or email from time to time (define) is required to let me know how you are doing, what’s going on.

You may want to set policies regarding:

  • Bringing or inviting additional Airmen to your home

  • Your preference for your Airman cleaning up after themselves, including putting things back where they found them, while visiting your home

  • Bed linen management (if they sleep over)

  • Drop-ins (the Airman arriving unexpectedly at your home)

Helpful Hints

  • Be a sounding board.
  • Communicate your house rules.
  • Give your Airman responsibilities as a family member.
  • Expect the same courtesy from an Airman as you would a family member.
  • Let your Airman/Enlisted Student teach you skills, and learn from each other.
  • Offer to meet and/or host the Airman’s parents if they visit Kirtland AFB.
  • Take pictures for the Airman’s family.
  • Be patient. Your Airman is sometimes very busy, and there may be periods in which your Airman cannot visit.
  • Treat your Airman like an adult, not a child. Mentor them, but don’t baby or enable them.
  • Enjoy your time together; Airmen feel host families are influential and positively impact their future.
  • We ask that you not buy alcohol for Airmen as alcohol is not permitted to be given to the Airmen even if they are 21 years of age or older.
  • DO NOT LEND MONEY to your Airman. If they need funds, Kirtland Federal Credit Union offers Asset Recovery Kit (ARK) loans of $500 at zero interest for 30 days. Another resource for funding is the Airman & Family Readiness Center on Kirtland AFB where Airmen can get a loan or may qualify for a grant based on their circumstances. The Airman’s First Sergeant also has access to a “Warm Heart Fund” through the Kirtland AFB First Sergeants’ Council.

First Sergeant Contact Numbers:

  • 377 ABW Command Post: 505-846-3777

  • 377 ABW/CCC: 505-270-7773

  • 58 SOW/CCC: 505-220-7008


(Name of Guardian if Host Family Member is under the age of 18)