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380AEW Article

EFSS delivers during holiday season

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady
  • 380th AEW/PA

As members of Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates brought in the new year, there were numerous events to uphold the Airmen’s spirits during the holiday season. One of the driving forces behind this was the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron whose team went above and beyond to provide its deployed members with countless events to celebrate.


Their mission is to serve, support, and sustain Team ADAB warriors and that’s exactly what they did during the month of December. 


“We want to give Airmen a piece of home to help them celebrate even though they are away,” said Maj. Amanda Pelkowski, 380th EFSS director of operations. “The mission is hard and the hours are long. Good food is good for the soul. Entertainment and time to socialize with friends and coworkers can help distract from being away from loved ones. The post office brings in mail which helps bring pieces of home to the Airmen.”


The EFSS command section is comprised of Manpower, Readiness, Unit Deployment Managers, and a Mortuary Liaison Notification Officer.


“We accomplish our mission by maintaining 100 percent accountability, providing life sustainment, supporting team ADAB regeneration, supporting Joint and Coalition partners, creating cultural awareness opportunities, and providing respectful support to fallen members, their unit, and their families,” said Pelkowski.


The Personnel Support for Contingency Operations team processed more than 200 inbound, temporary duty and outbound personnel. They issued and unlocked hundreds of Common Access Cards along with processing waivers, leave actions, emergency leave, re-enlistments, and extensions.


“I feel good being a part of it because we’re assisting the base,” said Airman 1st Class Tyshawn McFaddin, 380th EFSS PERSCO customer support technician. “We’re moving people out and getting people in, especially with emergency leave and waivers. We’re helping everyone out here along with the CONUS bases because if we don’t have that extra manning it can cause trouble for the squadrons who need those personnel to accomplish their mission.”


The Community Activity Center provided quite a few events for the holiday season and demonstrated the power of partnerships in enhancing capabilities. They kicked off December with a Holiday Tree Lighting event. They also held the 12 Days of Happy Holidays events that supported the attendance of more than 1,200 people for events like a tropical beach party sponsored by Stars and Stripes, a holiday movie marathon, and a holiday carnival co-hosted by the United service Organization. The Blackstreet concert on Christmas day entertained 1,300 members and artist Red Foo ushered in the New Year to 2,500 people.


“The CAC Team went above and beyond putting together holiday events to ensure our personnel can enjoy the holiday season while away from home,” said Tech. Sgt. Heather Parks, NCOIC of the CAC.


The Learning Resource Center provided Community College of the Air Force and general education counseling to more than 2,300 library patrons and LRC customers. They’ve also proctored just under 200 Professional Military Education, Course Development Courses, College University Exams and CLEPS/DANTES tests.


“Our purpose is to ensure we are able to support deployed service members in furthering their military career development and achieving civilian education goals,” said ,” said Master Sgt. Angelique Hall, 380th EFSS flight chief of LRC. “Career and education goals don't have to be put on hold due to a deployment. We are fortunate to have a Learning Resource Center and Education Center that works hand-in-hand to ensure all members’ needs are being met. We also work with University of Maryland University College to offer on-site classes and CLEP/DANTES testing.


Lodging houses approximately 2,600 military, civilians, contractors and coalition partners. In December, they housed almost 700 transient personnel consisting of people needing temporary lodging for the day or overnight. They also ensure proper manning of all lodging facilities for permanent party and temporary duty personnel, along with processing work order and laundry services.


Working with customers allows the lodging staff to improve the quality of the lodging facilities.


“I enjoy customer service and seeing the people because it gives me an understanding of the things that I can do better to help them,” said Lisa Green, 380th EFSS lodging services manager. I live in one of the facilities here, too, and I oversee improvements for the Airmen as well.”


During the holiday season, the base Post Office received almost 19,000 inbound packages and mailed more than 1,100 outbound packages. Through team effort, they ensured members and their families got their gifts on time.


“It was a lot, and with a group of six people we did an amazing job,” said Master Sgt. Vernon Howard, 380th EFSS post master. “We had a lot of help from the base itself and we’ve averaged 15 volunteers at a time during the time we’ve been here.”


“The volunteers were astounded by how little time it took for the mail to get here,” added Howard. “Normally it takes about a week or two for mail to arrive here but it was taking just five days. We had anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pieces per day and it took us an average of one to two hours to get it all delivered. The volunteers were praising us for that and all of my team praised them for helping us because we couldn’t have done any of it without them.”


Food Services prepared and served more than 98,000 meals in the Oasis Dining Facility, more than 36,000 in the Windy’s Army Dining Facility and more than 37,000 in Roy’s Flight line Kitchen totaling more than 173,000 meals during the holiday season.          


“It’s been a lot and our guys have put in a lot of hard work day in and day out,” said Senior Airman Stephen Meyers, 380th EFSS food service specialist. “It’s not just us, it’s our contractor, their staff, and our culinary support staff back in the kitchen at all of the facilities. We’re working 24 hour operations to feed the mission.”


“The holidays are a big time for EFSS because we’re deployed and away from home,” added Meyers. “We try to make it matter around here so it doesn’t feel like members are deployed and so that they can get some of the same comforts and luxuries we would back home.”


The Fitness Center also held three major events. The Santa Shuffle 5K had 400 participants, the New Year New Me 5K saw 300 participants, and the Center hosted a demonstration class for 65 personnel with CrossFit athlete Stephanie Chung.


“The holidays are normally a hard time to be away from family, so a lot of people focus on improving themselves, and one aspect of that is fitness and recreational sports,” said Tech. Sgt. Amber J. Poe, 380th EFSS fitness superintendent. “It makes being away from family a little easier when we provide that outlet for them.


“We also have highly-qualified trainers who are educated and very knowledgeable on getting people where they want to be with their personal goals,” added Poe.


EFSS brings high-quality services to all of ADAB’s deployed members and plans to continue this momentum in 2019.


"Our EFSS team worked to provide special holiday events for all personnel at ADAB, focused on increasing their resiliency during this time away from friends and family,” said Lt Col Marietta Sanders, 380th EFSS commander. “I am extremely proud of their phenomenal work in planning and executing all our events these past couple of months. We hope our events allowed ADAB personnel to make some special memories with their deployed friends and family and we look forward to continuing to serve the base in the New Year."