By Stacy Vaughn, 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 12, 2013
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Effective Sept 1, the 445th Force Support Squadron will be completing its final stages of restructuring its military personnel flight to become a military personnel section, an effort mandated by the Air Force.
Maj. Leland Shea, 445th Force Support Squadron commander, said the change has been in the planning stages but was something that couldn't just happen overnight.
"We were originally working to bring the personnel and services career fields under one streamlined organization as directed by the Air Force. Part of this objective meant adjusting to the newly prescribed mission threads in the military personnel section. With the recent operational readiness inspection, as well as our addition of the communications element mission last year, we were delayed in making this change. Now we can't wait any longer," Shea said.
Before the change, the military personnel section was divided into four areas; relocations, employment, career enhancement and customer service. With the restructuring, there will only be three areas: customer support, force management and career development.
Master Sgt. James Highland, MPS superintendent, said the services provided by the MPS are going to be grouped logically. This will allow wing personnel to easily determine which section to visit.
"The new setup is more organized and is easier for the customer to understand what area will best fit their needs," Highland said. "Customer support is a given. It's your ID cards, SGLI, etc. It fits your personal needs, whereas career development focuses on individual career needs. Force management focuses on the unit or wing level needs."
Tech. Sgt. Theron Betsey will oversee customer support. His area covers awards and special programs, Survivor Benefit Plan, casualty, citizenship, Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, family care, ID/CAC cards, newcomers program, and special duty applications. Customer support can be reached at (937) 257-5090. Master Sgt. Rhoda Salinas will oversee force management. Her area covers classification, commissioning programs, such as the Deserving Airmen and medical commissioning programs, duty changes and status, evaluations, line of duty determination, unit personnel management roster. Force management can be reached at (937) 257-4638. Master Sgt. Victoria Errett will oversee career development. Her area covers assignments, first sergeants board, high year tenure, promotions/demotions, retirements, retraining, reserve service commitment, and separations. Career development can be reached at (937) 257-4382.
"You'll notice some changes and some new faces in the areas where you normally do business. You're still going to get good service but it may be with a different person now," said Maj. Sean Handley, 445th FSS operations officer.
Touching on Handley's comments, Shea said it may not seem like a monumental shift to the wing on paper, however, developing proficiencies in personnel functions outside of previously worked areas is no easy task.
"We still have challenges facing us with respect to normalizing a structure in which all of our elements are firing on all cylinders. However, we are continually bringing in quality NCOs and Airmen in all of our career fields, both Air Reserve Technicians and traditional reservists. These folks, coupled with our seasoned vets, ease all worry that we will continue to meet our mission of providing quality and dedicated support to our customers," Shea said.
The wing began to implement the force support squadron concept in 2010. The 445th Force Support Squadron stood up December 4, 2010, combining both the 445th Services and Mission Support Flight. The communications flight followed suit.
"Our folks deserve a lot of credit for embracing this change head-on. To add to their plates, we've increased our supported customer base with the inclusion of the Det 2 mission here at Wright-Patt. While we anticipate increased manning in the future to offset the workload, it hasn't happened yet," Shea said.
Handley said manning has been another adjustment for the FSS over the last couple years.
"Before all the changes, we had 45 people assigned in three areas -- family readiness, personnel and training, and mission support flight. Now having those three areas plus services (sustainment flight) and communications (element) we have five areas now with 80 assigned," Handley said.
Maj. Donald Miller, officer-in-charge, manpower and personnel, has been waiting for the change since coming on board here in 2012.
"We've been waiting a long time to roll out our new structure. It's been a lot of work since we began the restructure; but, all-in-all, it's going to be worth it in the end. We look forward to continuing our support to the wing," Miller said.