88th Mission Support Group provides heavy lift at WPAFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Figueroa
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – With the largest Force Support Squadron in the continental U.S., the 88th Mission Support Group “dominates the dirty work” by covering a wide range of functions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, living up to its motto of being the “muscle behind the mission.” 

“We are unique,” said Col. Sean Brazel, 88 MSG commander. “Our portfolio is pretty broad. MSG has an operational focus that includes base security and support to local and national law enforcement agencies, as well as flightline support and cyber operations. ... We also focus on support programs such as ID cards, mortuary and casualty services, and child care.”

The group is responsible for cyberdefense, logistics, integrated base defense, supply, transportation, fuels, readiness planning, dining, lodging, services, personnel, education and training, family support, professional military education, deployment operations and the Air Force’s busiest Base Honor Guard. 

Other roles and responsibilities that fall under 88 MSG are advanced communications, computer and information-management systems, the dining facility, and logistical support such as moving cargo on the flightline and bus transportation. The group is also responsible for education programs such as Airman Leadership School and the First Term Airman Center. 

A key part of the MSG mission is running the annual Air Force Marathon at WPAFB. It also serves as liaison to the commissary and Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

The group has about 1,800 employees and provides support to over 33,000 people on the 8,200-acre base, with an operating budget around $62 million a year.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Malyemezian, 88 MSG senior enlisted leader, that investment is just a small piece of what the group executes, since every squadron gets funding from other sources the unit does not manage.

“Other entities provide funding, which takes it out of our control and is a little more stressful to manage,” he said.

The 88th Mission Support Group traces its lineage back to 1993, when it was the 645th Support Group and redesignated as the 88th Support Group in 1994. It became 88 MSG in 2002.

“Like most installations, the squadron is the execution arm where the work happens,” Brazel said. “We have four squadrons within the group.”

Squadrons tie mission together

Delivering assured communications, cyberdefense, and information for WPAFB missions and systems is a critical mission for 88 MSG. 

In addition to providing recurring logistical support to the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies, the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron is responsible for the leadership, management, and operation of the Deployment, Vehicle Management, Fuels, Materiel Management and Operations Compliance flights.

The 88th Force Support Squadron provides superior “cradle-to-grave” services and support to increase the total force’s well-being, leaders say. 

Malyemezian said 88 MSG is a bit different than other Air Force mission support groups because of its association with the Air Force Marathon Office and size of its civilian workforce.

“There are civilians in every MSG, but our civilian workforce is close to a 50-50 civilian and military ratio,” he added. “Our civilians bring continuity and a dynamic thought process that make our military members more lethal.”

The group provides support to the community in different ways.

“One of our focus areas is community engagement,” Brazel said. “We work closely with our civic leaders in the greater Dayton area.”

The 88th Security Forces Squadron maintains partnerships with local police. Its Airmen are Defenders of the force, enabling mission success through expert law  enforcement, force protection and combat readiness. 

Officials at 88 FSS are part of an education council with local community members and provide support with a military liaison officers in local schools.

The group is also aligned with the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, which helps teachers and educators better support military children. There are also military family life counselors on base to help support military members.

“Military kids endure moves, have to make new friends following every PCS and start new schools,” Malyemezian said. “It’s pretty awesome that we are supporting the local community by having a counselor funded by the base in those schools.”

Future 88 MSG goals include investing in base facilities. This would include renovating the Wright-Patt Club and FamCamp at Bass Lake, improving child development centers, investing in the K-9 kennels operated by 88 SFS, and upgrading WPAFB’s fence perimeter and gate-traffic lanes. 

“We’ve been impressed by the cooperation across the squadrons, and across the installation with our mission partners,” Brazel said. “The group can’t do the job alone; it’s all based on teamwork integration with the partner units.”