HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 419th Force Support Squadron is made up of 68 people who manage nearly every aspect of an Airman’s career, and their collective expertise is as diverse as the Airmen they support.
The FSS oversees force management, career development, education and training, services, family readiness, and computer support.
“We’re a very versatile squadron and we have our hands in everything,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Corlett, FSS superintendent. “We need to be able to feed our Airmen, ensure their computers stay running, conduct their fitness tests, and keep their careers on track from beginning to end.”
With roughly 1,200 Airmen assigned across the 419th Fighter Wing, this is no small task given each has his or her unique needs.
FSS Airmen must be “jacks of all trades” who are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of resource management, readiness, and human resources, Corlett said.
While taking care of the needs of Airmen locally, FSS personnel must also remain ready to deploy, which often means switching gears.
“When deployed, our personnelists are called to put on different hats and oversee the accountability of deployed personnel and any casualty actions,” Corlett said. “Our services personnel also assist with any search-and-recovery efforts along with mortuary affairs duties.”
Sixteen FSS personnel recently participated in a Silver Flag exercise at Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, which is a field exercise aimed at preparing them for deployment. The FSS Airmen lived in tents, carried weapons, and ate out of a field kitchen.
“Silver Flag is really important for personnel and services because our deployed mission is so vastly different from our mission at home station,” Corlett said.
The exercise offers both classroom and hands-on readiness training in field conditions and prepares FSS personnel in setting up operations from the ground up at a bare base, she added.
During Silver Flag, the wing’s Personnel Support for Contingency Operations team, known as PERSCO, maintained 100-percent accountability for all exercise participants and led the mortuary affairs program with no discrepancies.