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By Staff Sgt. Emily Kenney, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 06, 2020
Whether it’s providing meals for shift workers, or lodging for our mission partners, when it comes to supporting Airmen and families, no one is more prepared than the 21st Force Support Squadron.
According to 21st FSS deputy director, Dorothy Choate, the 21st Mission Support Group and its various squadrons are all working synergistically with various units within the 21st Space Wing and its many tenant units.
“The only real difference for us is the manner in which service and support is provided and the range of services,” said Choate. “For example, the military personnel flight and civilian personnel offers their full range of services, but by appointment only. The dining facility is providing to-go meals to our essential station messing members, 24 hours operations centers, our first responders and crews.”
The 21st FSS also provides essential services to shift workers and North American Aerospace Defense and United States Northern Command personnel.
“Our Hub is supporting our NORAD/USNORTHCOM and missile warning center crews that are in quarantine for mission effectiveness with three meals per day and grab and go options. The Hub is closed for public usage but is considered critical to the NORAD/USNORTHCOM mission.”
“We have seen a marked increase in support to a number of our tenant mission partners in order to help them continue performing their vital mission during these trying times. Our support primarily centers around housing and feeding mission crews and providing mission essential childcare services.”
However, their mission doesn’t stop there. The 21st FSS is also responsible for providing recreational activities to the community. Some of the activities they’ve provided include putt-putt, badminton, horse shoes, fling golf and soccer golf.
“For our dorm residents, outdoor movies on the blow-up screen with the focus on physical distancing,” she said. “And, yes, the Easter Bunny will take a tour of housing on top of one of our fire trucks. Finally, our lodging and child development center teams continue to provide housing and care for our mission essential members.”
Navigating these unprecedented times doesn’t come without challenges, she said.
“One of our biggest challenges is the need to maintain physical distance and limit the size of gatherings. However, we’ve transitioned to many services being provided by appointment only, using online tools, and limiting individual contact.”
To keep their mission going, Choate said they rely on frequent communication amongst each other and finding the positives.
“It comes down to caring and communication,” she said. “We are checking in with each other frequently and ensuring 100 percent contact every couple of days. This week we are holding our Thursday staff meeting via video conference and are having a pajama contest. Bottom line, you’ve got to find the ‘FUN’ in times like this! A simple smile can go a long way.”