By Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — No matter where you are, waiting in line is never something anyone wants to do. Customer service can also be hit or miss. However, that isn’t the case at the 21 SW Military Personnel Section.
When Airmen go to the MPS, an energetic young woman greets you with a smile when you get to the front of the line.
“Hi, how can I help you?” asks Airman Ashley Zwicker, 21st Force Support Squadron MPS customer service apprentice.
This time last year, Zwicker was just a typical college student taking classes and wondering what she was going to do with her life. Tuition costs and being bored in school made her realize she wasn’t on the right path.
“For me, the Air Force was a better option than college,” she said. “College is expensive and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. The Air Force offered me money for college and provided real life opportunities I couldn’t get otherwise.”
Choosing which branch of the military to join was easy. Zwicker’s father was in the Air Force, along with his father and his father before that. It’s a family legacy she’s excited to continue.
“I’m the first female in a long line of males in the Air Force,” she said. “It feels good to follow in my dad’s footsteps.”
Zwicker was born in Colorado while her father was stationed at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and lived in the area for a few years before moving to Wisconsin, where she grew up. She said it was nice to come back.
“It was awesome coming back to Colorado and seeing the mountains for what seemed like the first time. I don’t remember them from when I was little,” Zwicker explained.
When she arrived at the MPS, Zwicker said she was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect.
“I called everyone ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ when I got here, even the senior airmen and the (airmen first class),” she said with a laugh.
After Zwicker was comfortable with everyone, she became aware of the substantial workload and learned to ask questions, if she had them.
“We spend the entire day multitasking and working on a lot of things at once,” Zwicker said. “At least half the day I’m on (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System), making ID cards and checking and approving leave throughout the day.”
After being on station for a week, Zwicker was tasked with giving the newcomer’s briefing. Being a newcomer herself, she was a little overwhelmed at first.
“I knew I had big shoes to fill,” she said. “Once I got settled in, it got a little easier and went more smoothly.”
Unfortunately, no matter how comfortable and confident Zwicker or any of her coworkers are, they get taken for granted.
“People will get mad at us if we don’t get things done instantly,” she stated. “It doesn’t work that way though. We can only do so much so fast.”
The heavy workload and stress associated with working in customer service can be taxing, but the team at MPS works together like a well-oiled machine.
“Everyone in FSS works well as a team,” Zwicker said. “We’re a tight knit group with great leadership who provide positive reinforcement for us. No matter what you need, there is always someone willing to help you.”
No matter the rank of the customer, from the most junior Airmen without stripes to generals with four stars on their collar, Zwicker and her team work with each of them to help in any way they can.