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News > Force Support Squadron stands up at Pope June 4
Force Support Squadron stands up at Pope June 4

Posted 5/29/2008   Updated 5/29/2008 Email story   Print story


from 43rd Services Squadron

5/29/2008 - POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- When it comes to people programs, community support and quality of life, there will soon be one organization on base that will handle it all -- the Force Support Squadron.
The new organization is the result of an ongoing Air Force-wide merger of Mission Support and Services squadrons. This merger will help streamline processes, maximize customer service and cut costs associated with maintaining separate organizations, said Lt. Col. Joe Lindsey, 43rd Services Squadron Commander. 

"Because we're a leaner force, we need to focus on getting our people and organizations to operate at maximum efficiency," Colonel Lindsey said. "This reorganization puts our Pope manpower, personnel and services capabilities under one leadership 'hat,' which reduces overhead and gives our people the flexibility to be more responsive to customers' needs." 

The new FSS includes five flights: force development, manpower and personnel, Airmen and family services, sustainment services and community services. The new structure combines similar functional areas that already work closely together. For example, the sustainment services flight contains the military food operations, fitness and wellness, and lodging branches. 

"This is basically a behind-the-scenes change and should appear transparent to most Airmen Pope," said Colonel Lindsey. "If someone needs to go get an ID card or go to the Airman's Attic, in most cases, that person will still go to the same location they're familiar with today. Rest assured that we will be doing extensive publicity on the changes in locations/phone numbers, etc., that do result from this new Force Support Squadron. What we'll have, however, is a more effective force structure in place to better support our Airmen in the long run." 

To make sure we don't "break anything" by merging Mission Support and Services, six Air Force bases across six commands were selected early last year to test the new squadron model. The test bases (Edwards, Eielson, FE Warren, Grand Forks, Laughlin and Minot), helped establish where specific responsibilities and processes should be placed within the organizational structure and how they should be set up. 

"The end of test reports from the test site commanders/director indicate that this merger has not been without its challenges," said Maj. Yancey Cowen, Commander, 43rd Mission Support Squadron. "They had to re-establish lines of communication, move some people around, and overcome cultural differences between the functions. But, even with the difficulties, we're already seeing the benefits of combining these assets." 

Major Cowen cited the new force development flight as an example of positive changes coming. "The new force development flight commander is responsible for all education, training, library, professional development, and professional military education," he said. "It's advantageous for the wing to have one person overseeing and integrating the learning opportunities for the

The merger is also advantageous for the careers of future force support officers and civilians. 

"This reorganization opens up career opportunities that we haven't had before," said Major Cowen. "With our training plan in place, our people will be able to gain valuable experience across different functional areas. We've also created a new position - the operations officer - that will be open to officers and civilians." 

The bottom line is there will soon be a new name -- Force Support Squadron -- in place of what was Mission Support and Services at Pope. One thing will not change: the dedicated people of this newly merged organization will continue doing their best to support commanders and provide first class support to their customers. For more information on the new Force Support Squadron at Pope, call 394-1091/1092 .

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