JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
“Revitalizing the Squadron & YOU!” was the theme of this year’s Force Support Squadron Leadership Workshop, held Aug. 21-24 in San Antonio.
The workshop, sponsored by the Air Force Services Activity, brought FSS commanders together to share best practices and how to keep their squadrons innovative and relevant while serving Airmen and their families.
“The FSS is the human capital runway,” said Col. Donna Turner, AFSVA commander. “Our FSS personnel are truly that runway to deliver that core mission support, resiliency, quality of life, and family support capabilities to our Airmen and their families."
“The jobs our FSS Airmen bring to the fight every single day to take care of our Airmen and their families are critical for mission success,” the colonel added. "That’s one of the reasons why we have workshops like this, so we can tie the Air Force Chief of Staff’s focus of revitalizing the squadron and reinforce the fact the squadron is the heartbeat of the installation.”
Turner also emphasized how the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, or AFIMSC, and AFSVA help the FSSs. AFIMSC is responsible for providing installation and mission support capabilities to 77 installations, nine major commands and six primary subordinate units, including AFSVA and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, or AFCEC.
“For example, AFIMSC’s support to AFSVA’s efforts to transform the food landscape across the entire installation is critical,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of goodness and synergy between AFCEC and AFSVA as we work together as part of AFIMSC to ensure the APF companion projects are funded at the same time we do our Nonappropriated Fund projects to transform our food delivery.”
During the workshop, topics ranging from Air Force Central Programs, Club Member Portal transition, Air Force Sports, lodging essentials, and child and youth programs were discussed. There also was a “Shark Tank” presentation where the FSS commanders and directors gave demonstrations of installation FSS programs that could be used to support readiness, resiliency and morale of Airmen and their families.
The 20th FSS at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., won $5,000 for its “SMILE” program. Customers won by patronizing a designated FSS facility on a SMILE day; finding SMILE cards hidden in facilities to exchange for a $10 gift card. They could also be randomly picked after taking a survey or be selected at random from the “prize patrols” that roamed Shaw. Customers posted selfies enjoying Shaw activities with the hashtag #FSSSmiles. The program contributed to the morale of both internal and external FSS personnel.
“It created an internal excitement and boost to morale like no other program before it,” said Lisa Stevens, 20th FSS deputy director. “Team members wanted to go on prize patrols and loved cheering for winners – it was FUN!”
The 60th FSS at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., won $2,500 for Designer Handbag Bingo, where bingo winners had a chance to win a designer handbag valued between $300 and $800.
It’s ideas like these and others shared during the week that Lt. Col. Joshua Hawkins and Lt. Col. Sergio Rios will take back to their respective duty stations.
“The biggest thing I got out of the workshop was an opportunity to connect with all of our leadership that are helping to drive the programs for the next couple of years and understand where they are going so we can carry the “why” back to the field,” said Hawkins, commander of the 673rd FSS at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Rios, 6th FSS commander at MacDill AFB, Fla., said the FSS is starting to get a “triad” from a resiliency standpoint.
“Not only is it active duty, but it’s your GS civilians and NAF civilians,” he said. “It’s being able to take care of all three, and each other, in the business.”