39th FSS strives to serve Incirlik Titans through COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Malissa Lott
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The 39th Force Support Squadron is dedicated to providing members of Team Titan with activities to help pass their time during their short tour here. These activities range from classes aimed toward learning new skills or fitness, to enjoying time spent with people who have similar interests.

The mission of the 39th FSS is to provide cradle-to-grave support for Airmen and their families, and this is only further exemplified during the COVID-19 response said Capt. Zachary Hornberger, community services flight commander.

“During a pandemic response, there are likely people who are frightened, anxious and isolated,” Hornberger said. “The FSS is faced with the challenge of fostering social connectivity and resilience during a time when people are physically separated from friends and family.”

Hornberger explained that COVID-19 has forced them to shift their thinking toward how they could bring people together socially without breaking physical distancing measures.

He also said that fortunately, technology and the internet already provide people with the outlets for long-distance connections and the FSS is working to use those resources to better provide for Airmen.

The squadron hosts a book club, Paint Your Art Out painting classes, fitness workout of the day, talent shows and so many more--and they’ve all moved to the virtual realm.

The book club meets Wednesday afternoons through video conferencing. There’s no sign up requirement and they don’t have a set genre.

“In my opinion, the benefit of having online activities during this time is socializing,” said Tech. Sgt. Dana Reid, 39th FSS community center non-commissioned officer in charge. “The online book club is just one of many ways we are able to engage and connect with one another while ensuring everyone's safety.”

With permanent changes of station (PCS) and leave postponed, and families back home facing obstacles, this situation can intensify other stressors in the lives of Airmen stationed here.

“The sense of normalcy for many people has been shaken due to COVID-19,” Hornberger said. “These stressors can take a mental and emotional toll on people. While something as simple as a workout, a book or a video chat won't make these problems go away, they offer an avenue for people to decompress.”

Another way the FSS works to help Airmen stay resilient is by providing ways to stay fit despite the fitness center being temporarily closed.

The fitness center staff created a fitness challenge where squadrons can build teams to compete in a chance to win prizes. Each challenge has a point system which will be added up at the end of the month to determine a winner.

“We post pictures of different workouts (on our Facebook page) people can choose to do during the week,” said Airman 1st Class Racheal Keaveny, 39th FSS fitness apprentice.”

“Fitness can play a huge role in keeping people motivated and I think it's something you can do easily while practicing social distancing,” Keaveny said. “All of our workout challenges can be completed outside where there is room to roam. Being physically fit is a big part of staying resilient and keeping your mind and body busy while we have this extra time on our hands.”

Despite the challenges of physical distancing, there are still activities for Airmen to enjoy and this is a good chance for people to try new things.

“Personally, I'm excited to see what talents people submit for the Virtual Talent Contest the Community Center is organizing,” Hornberger said. “I'm looking forward to the Virtual Half Marathon the Fitness Center team is putting on April 18th. I was originally projected to PCS a few weeks ago and hadn't expected to be able to participate, but I'm looking forward to logging some miles.”

There may be a long list of activities to keep Airmen busy, but it’s still important to practice good wingmanship, Hornberger mentioned.

“We’re asking all members of the Incirlik AB community to come together and look out for each other during this pandemic,” he said. “Fostering a sense of community and connectedness isn't something that can be solely accomplished by just the FSS, USO or any of our helping agencies alone. At the end of the day, our ability to support one another will be defined by how well we as individuals can come together.”

To stay up-to-date on FSS events follow this link: http://www.39fss.com/.