Force Support: the face of enlistment

  • Published
  • By Amn Jasmine Snell
  • 189th Airlift Wing

     One of the most behind-the-scenes jobs in the United States Air Force is FSS, better known as the Force Support Squadron. FSS is the backbone of all that we do in the military; it is something that everyone’s career goes through, whether that is initial enlistments, awards, promotions, retirement, or transferring somewhere. In the end, everything falls back to FSS.

     Staff Sgt. Zachary Bell, the 189th FSS Relocations and Accessions noncommissioned officer in charge, tries his best to relate to the new service members who are enlisting because he remembers how nervous he was when he first joined.

     “I think back to how it was when I first started,” Bell said. “being in an office, signing papers, raising my right hand, surrounded by a bunch of people I don’t know. I definitely try to reflect back on almost six years ago, in that same spot.”

     As a member of the 189th FSS, Bell is one of the first faces many new airmen see during the enlistment process. He is often seen helping them fill out paperwork efficiently and accurately while making sure they understand what they are signing.

     He normally processes about 50 enlistments a month, including prior and non-prior service members. While the enlistment process takes several months from start to completion, Bell’s role generally takes no more than an hour of time. But there’s a part of the process that most people don’t see, which is the ‘gaining’. During this phase, Bell inserts all the information gathered from the paperwork into a special system that allows other sections to view and complete the member’s enlistment.

     With six years of experience in force support, Bell shares that the most fulfilling part of his job is seeing the impact his work has on others.

     “I love the fact that I made a difference in some way,” he said.

     Despite feeling overwhelmed with the stressors of the job, Bell expresses satisfaction knowing that he is in a position to help service members and their families.