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Hurlburt welcomes Airmen with open arms

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Hurlburt Field leadership and the 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron have established recent programs to ensure that new Air Commandos transition smoothly into the special operations community here.

The new Commando Welcome Center held its grand opening Sept. 15.

The center is focused on showing newcomers and their families that they are joining an important team and will be a one-stop shop to get the whole family set up on base.

“I have spoken to Airmen before who drove around base for hours not knowing where they were going,” said Sue Nelson, 1st SOFSS community support coordinator. “That’s not an impression we want to give the new people on base. We want to fix any issues like that and give everyone a pleasant welcome.”

Every new military member who arrives on base will be sent to the welcome center to begin inprocessing and will be shown the right path to get all tasks checked off.

First, the squadrons will assign them a sponsor.  The sponsor will go over all the available programs on base, as well as locations of important facilities indicated by the Commando Welcome Center.

“We want to provide individual attention to each person who arrives on base,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Bullard, 1st SOFSS military personnel chief. “We are doing a lot of work in the background so when they arrive they can focus on taking care of their family.”

The personnel working at the center will assist with travel vouchers, TRICARE enrollment and permissive house hunting leave applications.

“When we assign a sponsor who is knowledgeable, it shows the amount we care about our Airmen,” Nelson said. “That way the new person will feel connected and important.”

This facility is part of an initiative to improve Hurlburt’s mission capabilities by creating the most resilient and mission-ready Airmen as possible.

“Our focus on a couple of our new programs is to make sure every Airman is prepared for a short- notice tasking,” Nelson said. “You should be able to focus on getting your family prepared and not have to worry about making sure your Government Travel Card is working properly before a TDY or deployment.”

In addition to the new Commando Welcome Center, a 1st Special Operations Wing Commando Ready Center is scheduled to open soon. 1st SOW Airmen will go through a three-day training program including a wellness assessment, resiliency lesson and suicide intervention training.

“We want people to feel safe, welcome and know that they joined a team,” Nelson said. “When Airmen arrive at Hurlburt, we want [them] to come to the welcome center, so they can start out strong.”