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786th FSS Lodging recognized for supporting Turkey dependents

The 786th Force Support Squadron lodging team receives the First Sergeant’s Team Award May 25, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base. The 786th FSS accommodated military dependents from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey from the time they were removed from Incirlik until they returned to the United States or moved to temporary housing at Ramstein to finish the remainder of the school year. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

The 786th Force Support Squadron lodging team receives the First Sergeant’s Team Award May 25, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base. The 786th FSS accommodated military dependents from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey from the time they were removed from Incirlik until they returned to the United States or moved to temporary housing at Ramstein to finish the remainder of the school year. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

The KMC First Sergeant Council recognized the 786th Force Support Squadron lodging team for their superior performance May 25 on Ramstein.

The team received the First Sergeant’s Team Award for the support they provided to military families who evacuated Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, due to increased security risks.

“We want to congratulate the 786th FSS lodging team for winning this quarter’s team award,” said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Pedro, KMC First Sergeant Council president. “I really appreciate what they did for us.”

Upon short notice, the team lodged approximately 700 family members, offered 24-hour support at two bases in the KMC and helped provide household goods and food service.

“It has been a roller-coaster since this event took off and we started receiving people,” said Master Sgt. Steve Williams, 435th Construction and Training Squadron first sergeant, “The FSS and the lodging team put their heads together and made room for these families coming in. You guys did amazing work, and it happened over a very short period of time.”

Williams, who served as the first sergeant for the evacuees, said most of the family members who came to Ramstein from Incirlik moved on to return to the U.S. The remaining families stayed in Ramstein to finish out the school year.

“Approximately 250 families stayed here to finish school,” Williams said. “Once the school year ends, they will be making their way back to the U.S.”

The lodging team converted 54 family housing units into temporary lodging facilities and outfitted these with furniture, cooking utensils and other necessities for daily living.

“Any families that wanted to finish high school in Europe stayed here, and we had to find a place for them to stay,” Pedro said. “None of that would have come to fruition if it wasn’t for the 786th FSS team.”

Williams said the event not only benefitted the displaced families but also Ramstein.

“This is a huge learning opportunity as well as a huge teaching opportunity,” Williams said. “We’ve documented lessons we’ve learned, and we will be more prepared if we ever have to provide this support again.”
Chief Master Sgt. Phillip L. Easton, 86th Airlift Wing command chief, commended the team for their contribution in the evacuation efforts.

“On behalf of Brig. Gen. Jon T. Thomas and me, we just want to say thank you,” Easton said. “My hat’s off to you and your team for all the hard work and dedication. This situation came upon us very quickly, but we knew you were going to come through. This is just another testament to the hard work and dedication of the 786th FSS.”