LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
During his 20 years in the Air Force personnel career field, the Military Personnel Section superintendent, 802nd Force Support Squadron, has just about experienced it all.
He admits being "old school," recalling when MPS was the Consolidated Base Personnel Office (CBPO) before "the times, they are a-changin'," as Bob Dylan would say.
Changes like program and service realignments, the power of the Internet and technology, reductions in manpower and authorizations.
But a few minutes with Senior Master Sgt. Charles Mills is all it takes to understand how he and his staff take the MPS mission personally.
"We're here to put the 'person' back in personnel and provide superior customer service," Sergeant Mills said. "Our vision is no matter where you go for any kind of personnel support, it's standard - back to basics.
"We stand, look customers in the eye and have a positive attitude about taking care of them because in the end, it's about being a good wingman," he added. "We may not get it right all the time, but we're going to fix it all the time."
One of the largest personnel sections in the Air Force, the Lackland MPS answers the base's unique challenges with innovative responses. No other AF installation has basic military training to support along with the 59th Medical Wing, Security Hill and technical schools.
It's understandable why outside-the-lines ideas are needed for the MPS customer base of 12,000, which will grow another 3,000 when Bldg. 171 on the Kelly Field Annex is fully occupied.
The 2008 stand up of MPS-like offices at Wilford Hall Medical Center and Security Hill was one unique answer that allows each office to service a third of the customer base to fulfill its mission of quality personnel support.
"Given the limitations in our career field, the out-of-the-box solution developed here with the additional MPS-like offices was the answer," said Master Sgt. James Fleming, Security Hill MPS superintendent. "The bottom line is we're here because we truly care about taking care of the people so they can do the mission.
"I tell my staff all the time we don't put bombs on the planes or gas in them, but we take care of those who do."
The WHMC and Security Hill branches provide the same quality services as the main MPS, located in Bldg. 5616, except for a few personnel programs like testing and assignments. Cooperation in staffing between the 802nd FSS, 59th MDW and the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency make the offices and customer conveniences possible. In turn, those conveniences save man hours with the removal of driving, parking and waiting frustrations out of the equation.
"Sergeant Mills and I share the vision that we want Airmen focused on the mission, not stressing about personnel issues and spending time away from duties," said Sergeant Fleming.
MPS has also implemented online appointment scheduling for Common Access Cardholders with access to Web Scheduler on the Lackland intranet for faster customer service for identification cards.
That program's goal, while also developing more streamlined processes, is to eliminate wait and job absence times that can affect a unit's mission by taking care of the customer.
"It's hard to say, 'sorry, we don't do that anymore,'" Sergeant Mills said about some MPS changes. "I tell my staff if we can't answer a question, then call the Air Force Personnel Center and get an answer.
"We will continue to do what's necessary to help our customers limit time away from their duty section. We are here to provide superior customer service."