It’s not a fancy job, somebody’s got to do it!
By Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 21, 2016
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- As you walk through the chow line during lunch time at Halvorsen Hall Dining Facility at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, an Airman dressed in their white chef's coat will greet you with a smile and ask "what can I serve you." Earlier in the duty day when you took your physical fitness test, someone in a Battle Dress Uniform took your height and weight measurements before giving you instructions on what the PT test entails. After drill, since you live outside the allowable commuting distance, you are greeted at the All-American Inn at JB MDL by another Airman. He/she will help you with your lodging needs for the remainder of drill.
These Airmen are part of the 108th Sustainment Services Flight, which falls under the 108th Force Support Squadron, and their jobs are critical functions that sustain all Airmen within the 108th Wing.
"We manage all aspects of food services, lodging activities, recreation, fitness, and mortuary affairs," said Master Sgt. Jackie Kennedy, the flight chief for the 108th SSF.
"We will feed you, lodge you, provide you with some recreation, work you out and possibly bury you," joked Kennedy.
These Airmen are customer service driven and their jobs requires them to be. In a wing where KC-135 Stratotankers are the focal point of the mission, it is easy to overlook the behind-the-scenes operations of the Sustainment Services Flight.
During drill weekends or exercises, services Airmen will report to the dining facility by 5 a.m. to begin preparations to feed breakfast and lunch to troops, said Kennedy. A second shift will "report at 10:30 a.m. and stay until 7 p.m." to ensure troops receive a well-balanced and nutritious dinner continued Kennedy. Also, the 108th SSF provides personnel to the flight kitchen at the base terminal to ensure that 108th Wing flight crews in alert status are provided with 24-hr meals service, if required.
When Airmen occupy lodging at the dorm building, it is the SSF Airmen that ensure the rooms are well maintained, cleaned and ready to be occupied. "Anything left behind in the dorm rooms have to be picked up by my Airmen," said Kennedy. "They have to clean up what has not been cleaned by the guest."
"Drill weekends usually start on Saturday," said Kennedy. "But for some in my shop, drill begins Friday evening." They augment the All-American Inn to check-in 108th Wing Airmen who require lodging Friday night. They will be there from 5 - 9 p.m. ensuring that Airmen lodging needs are met.
So if you're a pilot on alert; someone who needs to take your PT test for promotion or a board; or someone who needs lodging for the weekend? Remember that the meal you received, the final PT score updated in the system, or the ability to rest in a clean room didn't happen on its own. It's not a fancy job but somebody had to do it!