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193rd FSS utilizes all facets during deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
From food to fitness to community outreach, the 193rd Special Operations Wing Force Support Squadron took their mission abroad.
Fourteen members of the 193rd FSS deployed to Transit Center Manas, Kyrgyzstan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from May to October 2009. These Airmen were assigned to the 376th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, who supported air refueling and warrior care missions .
"We served any branch of military, including coalition forces," said Senior Airman Jackie Ebersole, services journeyman. "Going to or from Afghanistan, they had to transfer through Manas first, so we did their out processing and in processing."
During the deployment, Ebersole spent her time working at Pete's Place, which she describes as a pool hall used to help lift the spirits of the troops.
"We would host pool tournaments, karaoke nights, Christmas in July, and even had a Manas Idol," said Ebersole. "The goal of our mission was to boost morale of those going to and from Afghanistan or even going home. For some, we were providing their last hot meal before going down-range."
That morale boost extended far beyond the walls of Pete's Place when 30 volunteers of the 376th visited the squadron sponsored village of Jany-Pakhta, Kyrgyzstan.
"We did volunteer work with the Jany-Pakhta mayor and the school principal," said Chief Master Sgt. James Nelson, services superintendant. "For the mayor we did refurbishing work at the community center which included replacing six basketball hoops, repainting the recreation center, and donating basketballs, soccer balls, and nets."
The refurbishing also included working around the perimeter of the recreation center picking up trash and broken glass, said Senior Airman Shanna Berkhimer service journeyman. "While we were cleaning up outside of the gym the kids were watching us and wanted to help out, in exchange for a bag of chips."
Nelson said for the school they donated $600 worth of text books and donated 45 desks. He said the number one priority from the school principal was to help get school uniforms for the children of families that could not afford them.
"Out of the 900 students in attendance of the school, 100 families could not afford to purchase school uniforms," Nelson said. A donation of $2,000 was gathered from the 376th and used to purchase those 100 uniforms.
"The kids were there with their families the day we handed out their uniforms," said Senior Airman Megan Brown, services journeyman. "They were so excited to see us and what we had for them."
Overall, Airmen of the 376th volunteered a total of 250 hours to Jany-Pakhta village and donated funds totaling more than $5,000.
All facets of the 193rd FSS were utilized during this deployment including, dining, lodging, fitness, and mortuary affairs. For many troops at Transit Center Manas, the FSS assisted them in their transitions to and from Afghanistan, boosting their morale and helping to process them through. And for Jany-Pakhta village, they reached out to help better their way of life.