JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
From military to civilian to retiree: all lives matter to the 802nd Force Support Squadron.
“We handle everything from cradle to grave in an individual’s career,” said Chief Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 802nd Force Support Squadron superintendent.
“The FSS takes care of our nation’s heroes and their families,” added Master Sgt. Keony Denson, 802nd FSS first sergeant.
Their mission is to provide “Best-in-Class” customer service to support and sustain Joint Base San Antonio. With only about 2,000 people, they support approximately 500,000 to 600,000 people in the JBSA community; the largest of its kind in the Air Force.
The unit is composed of six flights and each flight has a variety of programs to support the base population and JBSA’s 266 mission partners.
“A lot of the programs we lead deal with some kind of personal or professional development,” said Poisson.
One of flights is the force development flight, which handles educational and development services to include sustaining educational centers and libraries. The military and family readiness flight offers family support through workshops and other programs. The manpower and organization flight processes personnel for JBSA’s openings.
Another flight is the sustainment flight which handles lodging as customers arrive and depart. They have facilities at JBSA and are ready to assist at a moment’s notice.
“They’re the largest food and lodging program in the Department of Defense,” said Poisson, who believes she has a strong and ready abled team to take on the task.
While many new military personnel are sustained by the 802nd Force Development Flight during their enlistment, there are other areas where different kinds of changes must be dealt with in a timely manner.
The civilian personnel flight is tasked with the many comings and goings with duties including staff vacancies while the military personnel flight supports not only Air Force but Army and Navy personnel offices. That flight processes anything related to military personnel such as I.D. cards, relocating, separating and retirement.
On any given day, the 802nd FSS is completing its mission of exceptional customer service. That includes serving approximately 40,000 meals, processing about 160 permanent change of stations, put up 2,000 guests in lodging and processed more than 400 I.D. cards. Those occurrences are just a few of the vast services the JBSA community has access to.
“We’re going to constantly fight for those great customer experiences with the force support squadron,” Denson said.
Sometimes it’s especially important to be on point.
“When we’re talking about our mortuary affairs or our casualty situations, those conversations are not comfortable,” said Poisson.
When her office is notified about a military death within the JBSA community, the force support squadron steps up to support the families and those affected in their time of crisis. Lodging arrangements are made for families arriving out of town while memorial service preparations and other related issues are immediately put in motion. Each part requires sensitivity for all involved.
“When a customer picks up the phone, they have to have a person on the other line that is compassionate, caring, well-versed; all that needs to be known when it relates to their needs is important,” Poisson added.
With a focus on customer service, the 802nd FSS will continue its mission to be there for the JBSA community.
“We really go the extra mile above and beyond to take care of our customers whoever they are, whatever doors of ours they walk into,” Denson said.