Change, transformation are constant

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Douglas Wall
  • 39th Mission Support Squadron commander
The one constant in the Air Force is change. Politicians today use the term as a buzzword to appeal to potential voters; we live it everyday (in our culture). The latest change will be the soon-to-occur merger of the 39th Services Squadron and 39th Mission Support Squadron. Together, they will become the new 39th Force Support Squadron and will provide the same great support under a different, consolidated banner. 

In terms of change, the 39 FSS stand-up is hardly alone. In the last 17 years we've seen morale, welfare and recreation squadrons stand-down and merge into existing services squadrons. Several logistics squadrons and functions have combined under the logistics readiness squadron. We've seen mental health become life skills and later decide they really were comfortable with the moniker of "mental health." Social actions split and the substance abuse function went to mental health; and after a time, the equal opportunity function became the Military Equal Opportunity office. Now they have merged with the civilian function and are simply called "equal opportunity." We have seen the re-designation of squadrons and groups - along with their alignment in the wing organization. If our past is an indicator, we will see many more such changes in the future. 

You may ask yourself "Why do we feel the need to change?" I often wonder this myself. The answer, though, is quite simple: we do not live in a static world. World events, diminishing budgets, changing demographics and a significantly reduced support manning picture dictates this latest change. 

With these changes, we have the opportunity to make a new organization, one more agile to meet the needs of our changing Air Force. On the surface, most of what you come to expect from services and the mission support squadron will remain the same. You will still have a servicing military personnel flight, club, bowling center, dining facility and many other great facilities. You will still find support for your personal goals and needs through the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the education center. The primary services of these organizations, and many more, will remain the same. What will change is how these functions are organized and presented to the community. 

Mission support and services functions will be aligned in new flights under a single commander. In many cases, the merger just makes sense, like the combining of all personnel functions under a single flight. All education - off-duty, Airman Leadership School and First Term Airmen's Center - will be combined under a single leader along with the services library. These combinations are logical and the time to do them
is now. 

At a time when our Air Force is attempting the most efficient use of every dollar, this is the time to combine these two squadrons. The force support squadron will be the new way we spell superior support at Incirlik - coming to you this summer.