Commentary by Lt. Col. Jason Nahrgang
50th Force Support Squadron commander
In case you haven’t noticed, money’s tight these days. Not only that, but we’re undermanned in many cases and fighting our way through furloughs and reductions in force. And, by the way, there’s still the deployed mission to support. But, the sun keeps rising on the eastern plains and setting against the magnificent Rocky Mountains, and somewhere in between, we’ve managed to continue our prowess as the “Master of Space” in a myriad of ways.
Your force support squadron’s mission is to provide timely and tailored, mission-ready force support services and quality of life programing for the benefit of the Schriever Air Force Base community. In several areas, we have not only had to make significant adjustments in how we execute our programming, but we have had to ask for assistance from you, our serviced population, in order to continue to provide this valued programming.
Case in point: intramurals. As you may know, the funding to contract for sports officials fell victim to larger budgetary considerations and the intramural program, as we have come to know it, was in grave danger of being eliminated entirely. Fortunately, a team of professionals was simply not going to let that happen on their watch. As we worked through the various options to try to keep the program afloat, we quickly realized we would need significant help from the base populace to field any kind of program at all.
The cuts coincided with the start of the volleyball season and afforded us the perfect opportunity to see if our proposed way ahead just might work. I’m happy to say that, to the immense credit of key volunteers from across the wing, it worked to near perfection and the 22nd Space Operations Squadron took home the trophy for the season. We simply could not have pulled it off without basewide support. Fast forward now to the softball season in full swing and you all are making it possible to field a quality league with a full complement of games throughout the summer. Our next challenge will be to secure quality referees from the base to spin up a flag football league in the coming months.
But, the programing execution goes well beyond the intramural leagues. The wing just held one of the most successful Summer Slam picnics in recent memory, all capped off by a successful title defense by the Eagles versus the Chiefs on the softball diamond. All told, nearly 130 volunteers from across the wing came together to form a single, cohesive unit to ensure all Schriever personnel and their families enjoyed another banner Colorado day with free food and fun at the annual base picnic.
As we press through these fiscally constrained times, in which manpower and resources will be directly impacted, it will be more important than ever to pony up our fair share to continue program viability. The next big thing will be our transition from a single-funded billet with centralized oversight for fitness assessments to a broader reaching, somewhat invasive structure in which commanders will be called upon to provide highly qualified members to serve as test administrators and program leads for extended periods of time. This Air Force-directed model will further strain already precious resources, but after a year of exhaustive efforts to find another viable way-ahead, we are out of options and out of time. It is yet another example in which we will demonstrate the wing’s predisposition to getting things done to ensure that this critical program continues unabated.
From intense engagement in the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon fires to extensive participation in the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo events to steadfast support of numerous base activities, the immense character of the 50th Space Wing continues to shine through despite the distractions. I challenge you to find your niche and find yet another way to contribute in some way to the volunteer legacy of the command’s best wing.