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Fueling the Force: 21st FSS wins coveted LeMay Award

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 21st Force Support Squadron received the General Curtis E. LeMay Award for the best large Force Support Squadron in the Air Force. The LeMay award, announced July 15, is given annually to the best services organization at a base with at least 6,000 personnel.

“The squadron was selected for the award due to their outstanding achievements and performance in the force support mission,” said Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander. “Their efforts are an excellent representation of the 21st Space Wing Knights at the Air Force level. Be sure to congratulate members of the best large FSS in the Air Force.”

The squadron makes its mark by leading the Air Force as the first active duty-led, integrated FSS in the service, said Lt. Col. David Wilson, 21st FSS commander. They support the 21st Space Wing, including geographically separated units, and the 302nd Airlift Wing. Not long ago, the two would have operated separate force support squadrons.

“I’m really proud of the squadron,” Wilson said. “I think it shows the valuable work the 600 people in my squadron put in every day. It reminds them that their jobs are important, they are doing great work and the Air Force recognizes it.”

For example, Wilson said temporary lodging facility personnel begin their day around 4 a.m. to prepare for the day, cooks and kitchen staff are working at 4:30 a.m. to get food ready, and child development center staff are ready early in the morning to take care of the Team Pete children.

Over the past eight months the squadron’s primary focus has been on customer satisfaction, said Wilson. Much of that focus has settled upon family.

“We take care of families,” Wilson said. “Everything we do is about family. Family is our business.”

Coming up with innovative methods for providing unique customer satisfaction experiences didn’t come from taking a standard approach.

“This squadron does a lot of thinking outside the box in providing customer service,” he said.

One of those unconventional methods led to making great strides in the non-appropriated funds food responsibilities of the squadron. Wilson called it a NAF food transformation. Consolidating all the food operations under a central leadership team of two chefs allowed for more efficient use of resources, resulting in significant savings, Wilson said. It made sense to let the food experts run the food business.

In addition to food services, 21st FSS operated and oversees children and youth programs, outdoor recreation, lodging, fitness, Unit Training Assemblies, and the Aero Club, among other things. The Aero Club was recognized as the best in the Air Force at the same time the LeMay award was announced.

Wilson said his squadron could never gain such recognition without support from others.

“The Civil Engineer Squadron is a big part of this,” he said. “This doesn’t happen without CR support. They are taking care of tons of what we need to do our job. We are the best because we have the best CE squadron taking care of us.”

The motto of the 21st FSS is “Fueling the Force.” Not their efforts to fuel the United States Air Force to fly, fight and win…in air, space and cyberspace are recognized at the highest levels.

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