ALPENA, Mich. --
Ten men sat quietly in a dimly-lit room watching a video presentation on a Sunday morning. Several donned full beards, all wore civilian clothes and it was easy to tell they weren’t American troops. Airman 1st Class Hannah Meyerson, 110th FSS, Battle Creek, facilitated the briefing for the Lithuanian Army soldiers, providing contact info and hours of operations for important base services.
Last Thursday, members of the 127th Force Support Squadron (FSS), Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., and the 110th Force Support Squadron, Battle Creek, Mich., began working to administratively process 1,522 servicemembers at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) here, in advance of Exercise Northern Strike ’18.
The 1,522 personnel represent all four branches of the U.S. military and seven foreign countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
“From all four Department of Defense components to our coalition partners, we’ve not seen another exercise that combines the multi-spectrum, multi-domain and joint live-fire integration into one exercise like Northern Strike does,” said Col. John Miner, Alpena CRTC commander.
With Alpena CRTC as the focal point for air operations during the three-week-long exercise, the Airmen working to manage logistics for more than 1,500 people are busy from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily and will be deployed longer than other members of the 127th Wing.
Working with Alpena CRTC’s lodging facility manager Ed Hoskinson, the 127th FSS Airmen are facilitating lodging assignments for the 1,100 beds available on base, helping replace room linens and also managing the loan of recreational equipment to servicemembers off-duty. One of the biggest challenges they face is when someone asks to have their room assignment changed.
“With 1,100 beds available, people are constantly coming and going,” said Senior Airman Joshua Leidy, a services journeyman with the 127th FSS. “If someone wants to switch a room, it creates a ripple effect throughout the organization.”
In addition to all other tasks assigned, FSS troops in conjunction with the 110th, help maintain accountability of servicemembers not situated in CRTC lodging, such as the 233 U.S. Army soldiers staying in tents, endearingly referred to as “Tent City,” and other servicemembers staying off base.
Aside from the inherent challenges of managing lodging and other services for more than 1,500 people, Leidy appreciates the opportunity to work with people from a variety of backgrounds.
“The best parts of being here are getting the experience, getting to know people from different places and working with the different branches,” Leidy said.
Whether resetting key cards, refreshing linens or signing out baseball gloves, the FSS team continues to provide their high-caliber customer service while here at Exercise Northern Strike ‘18.
“They’ve been doing great, they have the system down pat,” said Tech. Sgt. Ben Mason, acting non-commissioned officer in charge of lodging, also a member of 127th FSS. “They are doing excellent work.”