Services, 42nd MSS shoot for LeMay Trophy

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- One way to recognize and motivate a group of exceptional service providers is to give them a coveted award and dare them to take it to the next level. That's just what happened when the 42nd Services Division and the 42nd Mission Support Squadron were recently named the best in Air Education and Training Command.

They are now competing Air Force-wide for the Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Trophy for the best installation-level A1 community, which includes manpower, personnel and services.

Maj. Kathryn Brown, 42nd Services Division chief, said this is the first time in the history of the award that Maxwell-Gunter has achieved Air Force finalist status. Also a first, it is now a "force support" award and recognizes Maxwell's entire A1 community. Force support incorporates mission support squadron elements along with the traditional Services components.

In the summer, the 42nd MSS and Services are scheduled to formally merge into the 42nd Force Support Squadron. The new organization is the result of an ongoing Air Force-wide effort to merge mission support and services squadrons.

"We are incredibly honored and very excited as we prepare for the LeMay team that will judge us as an Air Force finalist for the best in the Air Force," Major Brown said. "We love what we do, and exemplify our motto - 'It's Our Pleasure.'"

The six-person LeMay team will visit Maxwell from Jan. 30 through Feb. 4. Other nominated bases in the running are Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Yokota Air Base, Japan; and Nellis AFB, Nev.

Major Brown attributes the people and programs of both Services and the MSS as being instrumental to this nomination. More importantly, she added, it was the customer feedback and focus on customer service that continue to make a difference.

During their visit, the LeMay team will evaluate a long list of items, including the quality and depth of customer service, employee motivation and training, program improvements and execution, process development and implementation, and facility appearance and equipment.

"We have an extraordinary team of devoted professionals who take great pride in providing outstanding customer service day in and day out. I'm extremely proud to see the entire team recognized for their achievement," said Maj. Kerry Proulx, 42nd MSS commander.

She said one of the key evaluation factors is something the entire base will be involved in: feedback from customers of both the MSS and Services facilities. The team will be making stops to visit leadership and conduct 'man on the street' interviews.

"We encourage everyone to be part of our 'Quest to be Named Best' and to enthusiastically share their experiences with the various activities and sections belonging to Services and the Mission Support Squadron," Major Proulx said.

The award was named in honor of Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, who in addition to his aviation accomplishments, had a life-long interest in support provided by Air Force Services personnel around the globe.

The LeMay Award can be traced back to 1965 when it was established by the Order of Daedalians Foundation as special recognition for excellence in programming and service.

Major Brown said Services and the MSS provide a wide variety of social and community support, personnel, manpower and recreation activities that help improve the quality of life for all Maxwell-Gunter personnel and their families. With the merger, the new 42nd FSS will have a total of more than 700 personnel and offer 54 activities.

The new FSS will include five flights: force development, manpower and personnel, Airman and family services, sustainment services and community services. The new structure combines similar functional areas that already work closely together.

The Services division maintains hospitality programs including more than 2,280 Maxwell-Gunter lodging rooms as well as catering support for the second largest distinguished visitor schedule in the Air Force, Major Brown said. The dining facilities alone served more than 574,000 people last year, while the Military Personnel Flight produced more than 22,000 identification cards.

Each year, the recipient's name is added to a plate on the wooden base of the LeMay trophy. This year's trophy will be presented in April to the winning base at the Air Force A1 Services Worldwide Conference held in Keystone, Colo., Major Brown said.