Maj Amber Ortiz, Commander, 81st FSS

Maj Amber Ortiz
Commander, 81 FSS

"I Believe In:
Dignity & Respect
Service Excellence &
Know Your Why"

Commander's Corner

Growing up in Ohio, where the winters are cold and the apple cider is served hot, I was raised with an appreciation for classic holiday movies. Along with It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and The Grinch, a personal favorite was the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol. To me, these movies highlight a common frame of mind that takes shape as we maneuver through the holiday season and into a new year…a posture that allows us to pause and refl ect over the past, celebrate the present, and look with hope to the future. So, in celebration of this holiday tradition and in the truest of holiday spirits, I off er to you a refl ection on Keesler AFB Force Support…past, present, and future.

Force Support Past: 2018 was a year focused on providing increased customer access and laying the ground work for the delivery of needs-based solutions as well as sustainable operations and infrastructure. The 81 FSS opened Keesler’s fi rst Exceptional Family Member Program offi ce in the Sablich Center and an indoor “Play Place” at the Bay Breeze Event Center. The Military Personnel Flight (MPF) adjusted walk-in hours increasing ID-card appointment availability by 400 percent. Keesler Dining Facilities modifi ed their hours to better support summer and winter technical training schedules and the Child and Youth Programs fl exed days and shifts to support AETC Family Days worked by the 81st Training Group and 81st Medical Group. Finally, supporting combat readiness and making fi tness fun, the 81 FSS championed and hosted “Alpha Warrior,” engaging 104 Keesler Airmen in fi tness competition and securing and installing equipment valued at $43,500. All told, the 81 FSS supported 701,000 customers and paved the way for $5.2 million dollars in needed construction projects.

Force Support Present: While we embrace the approaching holidays, the 81 FSS never rests. In October, the Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) hosted two evacuee open houses partnering with agencies across Keesler AFB and the Biloxi community to increase access and support for 260 evacuated personnel. A&FRC also partnered with Air Force Aid Society to supply $207,750 in sustainability grants to evacuated families. During this time, Family Camp (FAMCAMP) opened its doors and Keesler Inns lobbied for and secured a delay to facility renovations to enable the lodging of 150 evacuated families on base. The unit continues its dedicated support to Hurricane Michael evacuees while also gearing up for what is arguably our busiest season. In November, the Dining Facilities hosted commanders and fi rst sergeants to serve meals to their Airmen. In December, we will provide Club holiday party support and host a variety of Airman and family festivities. This season, we will deliver over a hundred opportunities for units, teams, families, and Airmen to improve their morale, wellness, and resiliency through recreation.

Force Support Future: In 2019, we will deliver on the needs-assessments, sustainability requirements and infrastructure projects identifi ed and laid in the previous year. And we will do so with Service Excellence! Early this spring, the 81 FSS breaks ground on a new FAMCAMP as well as renovations inside “It’s in the Cup” Coff ee and Smoothie Bar and the “V” (Vandenberg Commons). We are also getting to work on an education campaign to help YOU, our customer, know what resources are available to you and how you can spur additional resources to your unit, family, and base through 81 FSS support. This includes a whole new website, “branding” of our current services and products (did you notice the magazine title?) and a squadron-wide commitment to knowing and living out our “WHY.” As you prepare to celebrate this season and as you look ahead to 2019, I encourage you to learn more about our mission, programs, and offerings in our magazine or our new website.



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