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Spangdahlem AB personnel flight pushes through COVID-19

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Valerie Gutierrez (left) and Danielle Smith, both 52nd MPF passport acceptance agents, work on passport paperwork, Feb. 3, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the MPF is still working to meet the needs of service members, even if that means they must make adjustments to their standard procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Valerie Gutierrez (left) and Danielle Smith, both 52nd MPF passport acceptance agents, work on passport paperwork, Feb. 3, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the MPF is still working to meet the needs of service members, even if that means they must make adjustments to their standard procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Michelle Paul, 52nd Military Personnel Flight NCOIC of customer support (right), assists a customer at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Feb. 3, 2021. Paul said despite the pandemic, her section still works after business hours to ensure every customer is taken care of.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Michelle Paul, 52nd Military Personnel Flight NCOIC of customer support (right), assists a customer at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Feb. 3, 2021. Paul said despite the pandemic, her section still works after business hours to ensure every customer is taken care of. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

Whether service members are coming in or out of Spangdahlem AB or need their administrative affairs taken care of, the smooth transition is not without the help of the 52nd Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Flight.

The MPF’s mission is to provide the upmost quality support to service members, to include common access cards, in-processing and out-processing, assignments, reenlistments, and retirements.

However, this process has been a challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020.

Despite the pandemic’s apparent trials, the MPF is still working to meet the needs of service members, even if that means they must make adjustments to their standard procedures.

 “We focus on making sure service members do not go past their date eligible to return from overseas, as well as ensure service members receive their orders in a timely manner and understand the process of completing their outbound processing checklist.” said Senior Airman Greyson Stidham, 52nd MPF outbound assignments technician. “Being able to go paperless has helped us reduce physical contact while giving us the ability to still take care of our customers.”

Even with COVID-19, each section in MPF has been able to help an average of 100 service members, Department of Defense contractors and family members each week.

Tech Sgt. Michelle Paul, 52nd MPF NCO in charge of customer support, said they work past their closing time often to make sure they meet the needs of service members and their families.

“Even though we have had to go to appointments only, we do not work any less,” said Paul. “We will typically take care of service members and contractors during appointment hours and take care of dependent customers after hours if necessary, to ensure we are taking care of everyone.”

Staff Sgt. Valerie Gutierrez, 52nd MPF customer support passport agent, said MPF understands the importance of making sure customers can receive proper paperwork and care in a timely manner.

“We try to make sure we stay on top of our processes,” said Gutierrez. “We do not want members to have to extend their DEROS, so making sure we hold ourselves accountable and work for our customers as best we can despite the limitations COVID-19 has put on us has been our main goal.”

Although MPF has had to change processes and limit physical interaction to protect their customers and themselves, this flight has continuously made their patrons their upmost priority and will continue to do so regardless of COVID-19.