HomeNewsNews

FSS commander rises to challenge, pushes to make base support better

Charlie Wickboldt, a fire performer, dances with fire during the Moody Summer Block Party, June 2, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Members of Team Moody were encouraged to attend the event which offered a plethora of activities for all ages, including water slides, volleyball tournaments, a car show, and live entertainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Charlie Wickboldt, a fire performer, dances with fire during the Moody Summer Block Party, June 2, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Members of Team Moody were encouraged to attend the event which offered a plethora of activities for all ages, including water slides, volleyball tournaments, a car show, and live entertainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Attendees play on a splash pad during the Moody Summer Block Party, June 2, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Members of Team Moody were encouraged to attend the event which offered a plethora of activities for all ages, including water slides, volleyball tournaments, a car show, and live entertainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Attendees play on a splash pad during the Moody Summer Block Party, June 2, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Members of Team Moody were encouraged to attend the event which offered a plethora of activities for all ages, including water slides, volleyball tournaments, a car show, and live entertainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Team Moody participates in Moody Fest, a night Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, referred to as a ‘thank you for all you do,’ Nov. 4, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Moody Fest was open to all Department of Defense cardholders and featured a food and beverage barn, story time with the base library, Tot Run, photo booth, mechanical bull, Zumba warm-up before a 5k/1 mile ‘Glow for a Purpose’ run, recognition of families of the deployed, and concluded with a concert performed by country musician, Kyle Jennings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

Team Moody participates in Moody Fest, a night Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, referred to as a ‘thank you for all you do,’ Nov. 4, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Moody Fest was open to all Department of Defense cardholders and featured a food and beverage barn, story time with the base library, Tot Run, photo booth, mechanical bull, Zumba warm-up before a 5k/1 mile ‘Glow for a Purpose’ run, recognition of families of the deployed, and concluded with a concert performed by country musician, Kyle Jennings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23d Force Support Squadron commander, assists participants during the End of Summer Bash, July 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Volunteers painted faces, cooked free food and assisted children with the obstacles and activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Daniel Snider)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23rd Force Support Squadron commander, assists participants during the End of Summer Bash, July 29, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Volunteers painted faces, cooked free food and assisted children with the obstacles and activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Daniel Snider)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23d Force Support Squadron commander, flips from a diving board during a contest at the Red, White and Blue Splash Party at the base pool, July 4, 2016 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The crowd chose Wengert as the winner of the contest by cheering and shouting for who they thought performed the best. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23rd Force Support Squadron commander, flips from a diving board during a contest at the Red, White and Blue Splash Party at the base pool, July 4, 2016 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The crowd chose Wengert as the winner of the contest by cheering and shouting for who they thought performed the best. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf by Released)

U.S Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23d Force Support Squadron commander, entertains the crowd with his presentation during the Key Spouses’ luncheon, Feb. 18, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Moody leadership hosted the luncheon to show appreciation for Key Spouses and all they do for Moody’s Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Daniel Snider/Released)

U.S Air Force Maj. Brandon Wengert, 23rd Force Support Squadron commander, entertains the crowd with his presentation during the Key Spouses’ luncheon, Feb. 18, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Moody leadership hosted the luncheon to show appreciation for Key Spouses and all they do for Moody’s Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Daniel Snider by Released)

Staff Sgt. Joshua Humes, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection crew chief, and his son, Brody, sled down a slope after a tree-lighting ceremony, Dec. 2, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Two separate snow areas were created for children to play and sled. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Humes, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection crew chief, and his son, Brody, sled down a slope after a tree-lighting ceremony, Dec. 2, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Two separate snow areas were created for children to play and sled. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

Airman 1st Class Andrew Soares, 23d Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, rides his motorcycle in a holiday parade, Dec. 2, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The ceremony included vendors, crafts, entertainment, door prizes, snow pits and visiting time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew Soares, 23rd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, rides his motorcycle in a holiday parade, Dec. 2, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The ceremony included vendors, crafts, entertainment, door prizes, snow pits and visiting time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Summer block parties, holiday events for children and trips for Airmen and their families are things that may come to mind when people think of the Force Support Squadron, but they’re responsible for much more.

As the 23rd FSS commander, Maj. Brandon Wengert is responsible for Moody’s manpower, the engine that develops Airman professionally, and the entertainment that keeps them sane when they’re off-duty.

It may sound simple, but effectively delivering events that support the base commander’s priorities can be daunting.

“The year I took command, one out of every three FSS commanders in the Air Force was fired,” Wengert said. “I took command knowing my position got fired more than every other squadron commander combined. When I did my own analysis, I found they were hesitant to aggressively meet their boss’ priorities, so I came in with the mentality that I was going to be a cowboy and do whatever is the right thing, and I would takes responsibility for it.”

This attitude helped Wengert continuously push the envelope when it came to events and entertainment at Moody, including revamping Moody’s On-boarding process. On-boarding is how the base welcomes new Airmen and their families with an innovated approach that immerses them into Moody’s culture the day they are notified of the assignment.

“There is a tendency to do what’s easy,” Wengert said. “Inside the squadron, I was not well liked for the first year I worked here, because I wasn’t going to do what was easy. I’m not obsessed with winning or being the best; I am obsessed with doing the greatest thing possible, and I’m not willing to limit myself. I want to constantly improve everything and be better.”

During his two-year command, FSS has hosted events like trunk or treats, snow sledding in the air park, tree lighting ceremonies and parades, Moody Fest concerts, base pool quarter scramble, holiday cards along Mitchell Boulevard, new cabins at Grassy Pond, and a haunted trail to name a few.

“Major Wengert's creative spirit is the energy that has driven his leadership style over the last two years,” said Dawn Coleman, 23rd FSS deputy. “He challenged the squadron to dream. Major Wengert encouraged Airmen to share their ideas to improve FSS and the community.  Out of these conversations, ‘@Moody’ groups became a reality; Uber is now available in the local community; and base-wide events were jam-packed with fun and enthusiasm.

“The Moody Air Force Base community will be talking about Major Wengert's successes for years to come,” Coleman added.

In addition to pushing the FSS squadron to have significant events and proficient processes to make life at Moody easier, Wengert also pushed individuals in his squadron to become better leaders.

“I’m impressed with the amount of burden and responsibility we put on junior Airmen on day one,” Wengert said. “Many times and in many ways, the junior Airman is the expert. I say that because our chief of relocations, who controls permanent change of stations for the entire base is so junior; they’ve never [moved] themselves.

“I am ferocious and intense and non-compromising on my people because I know how big the responsibility that they’re growing into is,” Wengert added. “Being a company grade officer working for me is not fun, but I know the burden they will eventually step into and I have to ratchet up the intensity now so I can build them up to face that. I treat the quality of a hamburger at the club with the same tenacity you would treat the accuracy of an A-10 shot, because it is that important in my mind.”

While preparing the FSS team for the next great challenges they will face, Wengert ensures they understand why, even when he’s giving them commands.

“The answer is never ‘because I said so,’” Wengert said. “We deliver a better product when our why is to take care of the Airmen and families [of one] of the most deployed bases in Air Combat Command, versus, ‘this Friday I need you to show up and work hard.’ Folks are engaged when they understand the why behind it. We’re about to push 1,000 Airmen out the door who won’t see their kids for six months; we owe it to them to deliver something unprecedented.”