Selfless service is the mantra for Horsham AGS services flight

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond
  • 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
 Behind each slice of meatloaf, every fluffy hotel pillow and any individual fitness assessment partaken by 111th Attack Wing members is a few Guardsmen who made it happen--and they belong to the 111th Attack Wing Services Flight here.

Less than 30 Guardsmen are responsible for keeping the entire 800-member wing fed, housed and fitness monitored while in military status. They also serve the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Out of the three major components, food service takes the cake when it comes to mission magnitude.

"Most of our time goes into managing and maintaining the (dining facility)," said Senior Airman Melissa Jones, program and management assistant and lodging NCO of the 111th Attack Wing. "Seriously, everyone loves the meatloaf."

The largest numbers of Guardsmen allocated to the services flight are assigned to feeding the ravenous troops.

"Our biggest mission is supplying food to all the members during the (unit training assembly)," said Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Paul, the service superintendent of the 111th ATKW. "We do a lot of the work before the UTAs because there is no way it would ever all get done during."

The National Guard Bureau supplies a 12-month menu to serve as a guideline. But the Wing's food team, composed of traditional Guardsmen, tailors the recommendations to the tastes of its members.

Supplying sustenance to famished members is the biggest task, but providing billeting is also a major task on the flight's plate.

After lengthy commutes and long-work days, those who qualify are supplied a room in one of the hotels near the base for the scheduled drill, said Jones.

There are unit lodging monitors scattered throughout the wing; nonetheless, the task of submitting and finalizing lodging rests on three members of the services team. This can sometimes prove to be challenging as the Wing's reservation needs have to be altered with little to no notice. No-shows and last-minute reservations are handled by the already light flight, but can prove costly to the Wing if not addressed immediately.

"Some may be away at school, on a (temporary duty assignment), excused from the UTA or just overlook their reservations," said Jones. "Sometimes people will no-show because it's not their money, but we still have to pay for that reservation."

The last section of the flight is the newest addition to the services skillset.

The Wing's fitness staff is run by three Guardsmen. They provide continuity to the program by not only overseeing unit physical training leaders during the assessment, but also through administrative measures.

"The fitness team is not only doing the testing but they are bringing forth a lot of innovative ideas," said Paul. "Our fitness program is pretty new; we didn't always have a fitness staff. It required our members to attend two extra weeks of school to implement the program; and they're doing great things with it."

While the 111th ATKW's Service Flight might have a big job for such a small group, being in a career field that allows them to help the entire Wing has proven rewarding for Jones and Paul.

"In one way or another, we interact with everyone on the base; and we see people from every different section," said Paul. "And it's also nice because while we all have one (Air Force Specialty Code), we aren't doing the same thing. We have the food team, fitness and lodging; we can rotate people around."

Furthermore, the services field has proven to be advantageous in networking and volunteerism.

"I feel everyone eventually comes through services," said Jones. "If they can't find what they need from the other sections, they come to us. You get to know everybody."

Jones also said that she enjoys the volunteer opportunities available through her career field.

"I like to help out at the (yearly Christmas party held by the 111th ATKW for severely handicapped adults)," said Jones. "I think that volunteering at these types of events is important and with being in services, we know about these things.

"And anyway, we're the ones with the keys."