As I sat outside last week, watching my son at his first evening soccer game, I was glad for my sweatshirt and the beanie that snuggly warmed my head. In the moments between cheers, I reflected how quickly time had flown and on the season ahead. The more I reflected, my anticipation grew. December and January bring warm (and sometimes ugly) sweaters, apple cider and hot cocoa, and classic holiday movie marathons. Even more, they offer an opportunity to pause and reflect over the past, celebrate the present, and look with hope to the future. So, in celebration of this season, I offer to you a reflection on Keesler AFB Force Support…past, present, and future…
Force Support Past:
2019 was a year focused on delivering more targeted access and support for customers, and securing solutions for sustainable operations and equipment infrastructure. The 81 FSS relocated the Family Child Care (FCC) Office and opened satellite Military Family Life Consultant and Personal Financial Readiness Counselor offices at the Bay Breeze Event Center (BBEC), making personal and family counseling, child care, and financial assistance more easily accessible. Keesler Dining Facilities rolled out “Go for Green 2.0” with healthier menu options and modified their hours to better support technical training schedules and the 403rd Wing Unit Training Assembly mission. Child and Youth Programs flexed days and shifts to support AETC Family Days worked by the 81st Medical Group and our youth secured National Keystone Club “Legacy Status.” Finally, the 81 FSS guided commanders and leaders in providing unit cohesion and team-building activities, ranking #1 in the Air Force for Unite Program dollar execution. All told, the 81 FSS supported 2.2 million customers and paved the way for $6.7 million dollars in needed construction projects and equipment recapitalization.
Force Support Present:
While we embrace the approaching holidays, the 81 FSS never rests. The unit continues its dedicated support to the missions, Airmen and families, and Team Keesler. In November, our Manpower Office led 2 AF and the 81 TRG in a Continuous Process Improvement event designed to improve the processes that deliver Airmen from recruitment to basic training, and through to technical training. In December, we will close Gaudé Lanes for three weeks, supporting our loyal breakfast and lunch crowd via “Food Truck” while our snack bar undergoes a $300K remodel. This season, we will deliver over one hundred opportunities for units, teams, families, and Airmen to ignite morale, wellness, and resiliency through recreation.
Force Support Future:
In 2020, we will lead the Air Force as one of four pilot locations to implement a new Club Model. We will re-open Marina dock operations in the spring, offering boat slip rental and fuel sales. And the Military Personnel Flight will roll out the Air Force Integrated Personnel and Pay System, a one-stop “HR” and finance customer service desk, as well as deliver advanced training opportunities and program oversight for Commander Support Staffs. Across our squadron, we will grow and evolve our processes, programs, and events to meet YOUR needs and the needs of Team Keesler.
As you prepare to celebrate this season and as you look ahead to 2020, I encourage you to learn more about the Force Support mission, programs, and offerings in this magazine or by visiting the 81 FSS website at discoverkeesler.com.
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