JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
The 176th Force Support Squadron marked an upgrade from 176th Force Support Flight during a June 6, 2021, reflagging ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
The 176th FSS provides support and quality of life to 176th Wing customers through community services, personnel, education, training, manpower, career assistance, and Airman- and family-support services.
Presiding officer Alaska Air National Guard Col. Matthew Komatsu summed up the capabilities of the unit to provide those services.
“We have 24/7 mission sets that are always ongoing, and as a result, we have a lot of Airmen in this wing supporting the mission, and every one of those Airmen needs to be supported on the force support side,” he said. “We have a flight of can-do Airmen who are willing to step up to the plate and make it happen in the name of the mission, and I will tell you a flight is not enough, we need a squadron.”
Though Komatsu hailed the redesignation, he said it is only the beginning of enhancing force support services.
“The importance of this simple ceremony of redesigning the FSF to an actual squadron is just the first of many steps we need to take to make sure we are supporting the wing in everything it does and the Airmen who retire here to the maximum extent possible,” he said. “Just because we change the flag, and just because we change the name doesn’t mean things change overnight. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us taking a lot of important steps in the organization to get us on true north, and I think we are headed in the right direction.”
Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col. Hannah Sims, 176th FSS commander, echoed Komatsu’s remarks.
“The redesignation to a squadron is about so much more than a name change,” she said. “It gives us parity with our active duty partners that is appropriate to the large customer population that we serve, and it is a reformulation of our structure to more appropriately align the organization to the vast number of programs and duties for which we are responsible.”
Sims said the unit upgrade will also help Airmen’s professional development.
“It has the wonderful benefit of creating formal leadership positions for both our officer and enlisted personnel,” she said. “These professional-development opportunities matter and will help shape the future careers of so many outstanding individuals within Force Support. Looking to the future, I challenge all the men and women of Force Support to take those opportunities and further demonstrate to this wing and our many partner agencies what incredibly capable, resilient and determined professionals you are.”
Despite a heavy workload ahead to increase services, Komatsu said the unit already has the building blocks to expand.
“I’m absolutely excited about where the FSS is at right now and the future of the organization based on the quality of the Airmen that are assigned there and the leadership we have in place,” he said.