55th Force Support Squadron promotes leadership among lower ranks

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing/Public Affairs

Members from the 55th Force Support Squadron traveled to the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa to participate in Pacific Cornstalk training exercise, Oct. 18-20.

The focus of the exercise was to take these Airmen out of their normal day to day responsibilities and place them in an environment where they can develop new skills which allow them to become multi-capable Airmen anywhere.   

“We are providing Airmen the knowledge and the experience to go anywhere and perform these tasks because they already have them in their tool kit,” said Master Sgt. Brittany White, 55th FSS food service section chief. “We don’t see it as often as we used to when I was a young Airman and with the way the Air Force is changing, we need our lowest ranking Airmen to perform high ranking jobs.” 

Airmen 1st Class Terrence Davis, 55th FSS personalist, was one of those Airmen who had to learn a new job in a different environment. During an exercise earlier this year, he trained in a dining facility and he took the chance to learn more during this experience.

“You have to be flexible and want to learn something different outside of your job because whenever you go down range you may not be doing your desk job, you might be doing maintenance, refueling, or anything like that,” Davis said. “I really enjoy the kitchen, I actually helped build this kitchen, and I’m exciting about getting to work in this one.”

While some of these Airmen were learning how to be flexible in their new roles, Tech. Sgt. Terrance Covington, 55th FSS, was placed in a position he had no prior experience, acting base commander.

“He made every decision about this camp,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Davis, 55th FSS commander. “His skill set day to day in running the dining facility had a lot of parallels with doing the basics of a bare base operations. So, I expect his learning curve to be significant, but he is absolutely up for the challenge and is doing phenomenal.”

The new role came with some difficulties, but two things that stuck out to him while learning how to lead - logistics and the importance of leadership.

“Everything is not easy because you have two different Air Force bases, guard and active. You would assume everything would be easy when it comes to fuel, purchasing, who is supplying this type of equipment and trying to lug it up from state to state,” Covington said.  “The leadership piece; having to pick slots, positions, and manning, there’s a lot that went into it that me, an enlisted Tech. Sgt., doesn’t see. So being in this position, I see what the officers and the higher ups are dealing with on a day to day.” 

The 55th FSS leadership wanted their Airmen to have the experience and reinforce the right mindset they will need to accomplish their task while in deployed situations.

“It is important for the Airmen to step up and experience running things here, so when they get down range, they are not in a panic state or anything like that,” White said. “They already have the mindset, the warrior mindset, that we are always talking about and they’re getting out there and getting after it.”

The Airmen also took part in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear training, putting up tents, operating a dining facility, and other team building activities.