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Strength through support: FSS offers ways to de-stress

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystal Wright
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA – (Editor’s note: This article is the first in a three-part series on the 332nd Expeditionary Force Support Squadron and how their Airmen support the base, mission and people. The squadron is composed of several sections: learning resource center; moral, wellness and recreation; mortuary affairs; lodging; dining facilities; honor guard; personnel support for contingency operations; and postal service. Three sections will be highlighted in each series piece.)


Behind the scenes of wing operations is a unit that works to provide various life-sustaining services to the base populace. The 332nd Expeditionary Force Support Squadron is involved in a wide range of operations, affecting every military member.


“We are the heartbeat of the base,” said Tech. Sgt. Jana Allen-Waugh, 332nd EFSS fitness section chief. “Everything you need to maintain life and have a semblance of happiness, FSS does that.”


“We touch everything; anything that regenerates or supports the mission to the extent that the mission would not happen (without it), we touch,” elaborated Master Sgt. Eugene Scott, 332nd EFSS MWR section chief. Across the board, the contributions being made by FSS are amazing. I see on a daily basis how many people we touch.”


The 332nd EFSS manages lodging facilities, dining facility and postal service. They also have an honor guard team and mortuary affairs to render military honors. Furthermore, 332nd EFSS provides opportunities for service members to relax off duty through resources they offer like fitness, learning resource, and morale, welfare and recreation centers.


Military members have down time while off duty and filling that time may be a challenge while far away from home in a deployed location. One of the functions of 332nd EFSS is to provide different ways for deployed members to unwind in a constructive and positive manner while keeping morale high.


“We are in a deployed environment and work long hours,” said Scott, who is a native from Compton, California. “These services are important because we are all human and need that time to relax and get away from the daily stresses of work. Our main goal is to make sure, not only is the base entertained, but the base has a venue where (people) can just come and relax.”


The MWR section also provides movies, a gaming room, entertainment acts, competitions and prizes.


“It’s all about resiliency and stress management,” said Scott, who is deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. “The mission is very important, but our top priority is our people. If our people’s mental and emotional wellness isn’t intact, the mission will fail. So, the MWR tends to that aspect of regeneration and taking your mind off of that stress; giving you piece of home, a piece of entertainment away from home. If we are only focused on the mission, it is easy to find yourself under a lot of mental and emotional distress.”


MWR is not the only way people can manage their stress while deployed.The 332nd EFSS also offers a learning resource center.


“Our mission is to provide goal-orientated distractions,” said Master Sgt. Julia Souza, 332nd EFSS learning resource center section chief. “We have a plethora of books and movies available for check out and we do … official military testing.”


They are able to support a wide range of military testing to include testing for upgrade training and profession military education courses. They also oversee the on-base college, which is a national testing center, and able to provide tuition assistance briefings and education counseling.


“People need something to do while they are deployed that is goal-orientated because it helps the time go by faster,” said Souza, who is native of Summerfield, Florida, and deployed from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. “While you are deployed you have plenty of time to work on yourself, which is going to help make you a better person and broaden your horizons. No one ever said education was something they regretted obtaining.”


People may have a range of goals they wish to work on to improve themselves while deployed, which may not necessarily be just educational in nature. Some people wish to improve their physical ability and health, which is where the fitness center comes in.


“You have to be fit mentally and physically to carry out the mission,” said Allen-Waugh, who is deployed from Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. “And we have everything here they would need fitness-wise to build and strength that warfighter.”


Fitness has other benefits, Allen-Waugh said, like helping de-stress, improving attitudes and helping people bounce back from injures.


Along with offering a place to workout, they host competitions, sports, morale runs and classes.


The 332nd EFSS provides different ways to “re-charge for the mission.” For some, that may be going to the MWR facility or LRC while for others that may be hitting the gym, said Allen-Waugh, a native of Richard, California.


Regardless of what service members choose to help them improve themselves with or de-stress, the Airmen of 332nd EFSS support them with their endeavors.


“My staff and I take great pride in (what we do),” Scott said. “We are the morale; the focal point when it comes to morale on base. It is our duty and our privilege to provide that.”

“I would love for people to know how much work goes into these events and how much we care,” he continued. “When we get constructive feedback, we take it to heart because we want to make it better.