FSS -- What's that?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Karyn Wright
  • 341st Mission Support Squadron commander
Over the past 15 years or so change has become the norm for our Air Force and certain career fields have seen more than their fair share. The Force Support Squadron, or FSS, is the result of one of these changes.

In my 18 years in personnel, I have often heard rumors of mergers with other support functions; some included merging the old Administrative Career Field and Personnel, and some suggested merging Finance and Personnel. We did merge Manpower and Personnel a few years back; but never did I dream Personnel would one day merge with Services. The new FSS is the pairing of the Mission Support and Services Squadrons. This merger was tested this past year with a handful of bases, representing all commands. The test ended this past November and direction was made to merge all bases over the next few years and set a merger timeline based on the departure of one or both of the current squadron commanders.

The Mission Support and Services Squadrons at Malmstrom will become the 341st Force Support Squadron on July 17 when Maj. David Ashmore takes command. Sounds easy enough on the surface, but the real work began almost five months ago. For the past five months, the Services and MSS have embarked on a challenging course to pull together two very diverse and complex squadrons.

The FSS will be the largest (program management wise, not people wise), most complex unit on any base. It will truly be a cradle-to-grave operation running programs that range from Child Care, Fitness, Food Services, Lodging, Youth Programs, Education, Library, Non-appropriated Funds Activities, Military and Civilian Personnel, Manpower, Professional Military Education, Airmen and Family Support, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs to a complex war-fighting mission that takes care of our warriors downrange 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.

As we move toward the end of the pre-work I am very proud of what these two awesome squadrons have accomplished. Through selfless teamwork and plenty of old-fashioned elbow grease, we have left a solid foundation for the incoming commander to take this new squadron to the next level. I offer my personal thanks and best wishes to the men and women of the 341st Force Support Squadron. To our customers, I offer - in the words of one of my flight chiefs - "may the force 'support' be with you."