From food to housing, Eielson’s Force Support Squadron serves the base

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 4:49 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - During Red Flag Alaska, Eielson Air Force Base sees over 1,000 additional airmen from the U.S. and neighboring countries come to the facility. All of the extra personnel need to be fed and housed as well as have services like a gym, and the Force Support Squadron at Eielson is tasked with this job.

MSgt Marcie Ireland, the superintendent of community services flight said, “We do our best to plan as best as possible with making sure that we get things done, with making sure that we are supporting the mission.”

Ireland oversees the Yukon Club at Eielson, and says during Red Flag they have to add additional hours to the club as well as extra staff. She said that participating in Red Flag helps them realize the scope of the Air Force. “I believe it gives us a sense of what’s big when it comes to big Air Force.”

Red Flag Alaska happens three to four times a year at Eielson. Ireland said it is this repetition that helps them be able to serve the added people. “The beautiful thing about Red Flag is that it is reoccurring. It happens every year. So with that we learn from what we have done in years past, with prepping, what logistically worked in years past works again this year.”

Red Flag doesn’t only bring U.S. Airmen from around the country, but also U.S. allies. The Japanese and South Korean Air Forces often come to Eielson to train with the U.S.

Tech Sergeant Aaron Oeth is the Dining Facilities Manager and says that hosting the guests allows them to meet the airmen from all over the world, adding that the Japanese like burgers so they plan on making extra.

Cooking for them, Oeth said, “also gives us that face to face with them, that time on the grill where they can sit there and talk to them, find out where they are from, what they like... you never knew that a cheese burger could change everything, but it’s building bridges between nations.”

Ireland said that being able to participate in the exercise helps them do better at their job of serving those that serve their country.

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