6th Force Support Squadron wins best FSS in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The 6th Force Support Squadron from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida won the 2018 Gen. Curtis E. LeMay award for the best large installation-level FSS in the Air Force, May 28, 2019. 

The last time the 6th FSS won the esteemed award was back in 1986.

“After an onsite visit from Headquarters Air Force, that evaluation team saw firsthand the incredible services that MacDill AFB offers our warfighters and families, as well as the pride the 6th FSS Airmen take in providing that critical support,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, the 6th Air Mobility Wing commander. “The squadron’s enthusiastic Airmen, innovative ideas and integration across this complex installation truly represents the characteristics and values embodied by this prestigious award.”

The award was created in 1965 to highlight the best morale, welfare and recreational programs in the Air Force, but has since evolved to recognize a superlative FSS for its great customer service, family support and quality-of-life programs provided to military service members, their families and the local community.

The 6th FSS has more than 600 dedicated military and civilian professionals who operate in a diverse mission environment providing hospitality, child care, food services, recreation, education, physical fitness and much more.

“For our hard work to be recognized at the highest level, it really means the world to our team,” said Lt. Col. Kimberly Lichte, the 6th FSS commander. “We have an amazing team of professionals who work hard to make the mission happen every single day.”

In 2018, the 6th FSS made great strides in nearly every functional area under its command.

Their Military Personnel Flight implemented a new online identification card renewal system to reduce in-house customer wait times.

Additionally, their Airman Leadership School implemented electronic tablets modernizing how Airmen receive their curriculum while increasing efficiency of the course.

Furthermore, the squadron supported Hurricane Michael evacuees by working closely with local supporting agencies and executing $177,000 of Air Force Assistance Fund grants.

The squadron also received the Pete Taylor Community Partnership of Excellence award, which recognized the outstanding community partnerships between MacDill AFB and Hillsborough County School District.  

These achievements led to the 6th FSS being one of two finalists for the award, which required an in-person evaluation before potentially receiving the award.

“We only had one week notice before an official evaluation and in that week, I saw something truly incredible,” said Lichte. “The whole team came together and took initiative to put the finishing touches on everything, demonstrating the pride in what we do."

Lichte emphasized she felt an overwhelming sense of pride seeing various members in her squadron brief the evaluation team about the great things the squadron does and that it was a feeling she would never forget.

“What I think makes this squadron truly stand out is that there is a strong culture of trust and empowerment,” said Lichte.

In addition to winning the Air Force’s 2018 Gen. Curtis E. LeMay award, individual 6th FSS flights and five Airmen in 6th FSS were recognized for their standout performances within their respective career fields.

“I’ve never had a leadership team acknowledge and encourage my ambitions more than what this squadron has done for me,” said Senior Airman Jennifer Miranda, a 6th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist and winner of Air Mobility Command’s Force Support Airman of the Year award. “I couldn’t have achieved this award without the constant support and mentorship of my teammates, it really is a huge team effort, and I feel so honored to be a part of it.”

Through the 6th FSS team’s continual hard work in the Tampa and MacDill communities, it has set a positive tone that has resonated with Airmen throughout its command.

“I joined the Air Force to be a part of something bigger than myself and being a part of our Force Support Squadron, you really feel that hit home,” said Miranda. “We’re a huge squadron with a multitude of different jobs, yet, I love how we are a family with a common mission priority: to help the betterment of everyone we come into contact with.”