From the Frontlines: Capt. Amanda Patton

Members of the U.S. Air Force 386th Air Expeditionary Wing run to a bunker in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 21, 2012. The 386th AEW conducted a "bunker dive" exercise to evaluate the overall readiness of base personnel and facilities while under a simulated attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James Lieth/Released)

SOUTHWEST ASIA – Capt. Amanda Patton and members of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, run to a bunker, Feb. 21, 2012. The 386th AEW conducted a "bunker dive" exercise to evaluate the overall readiness of base personnel and facilities while under a simulated attack. Patton, 509th Force Support Squadron military personnel section chief, returned June 12, from her six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James Lieth/Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Much of the behind-the-scenes work in Force Support Squadrons goes into ensuring the quality of life for Airmen. The FSS mission is streamlined across the Air Force to enhance readiness and promote esprit de corps at home and abroad.

While serving as the 386th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight commander, Capt. Amanda Patton dedicated her efforts to help serve more than 4,000 personnel in Southwest Asia. The 509th Force Support Squadron military personnel section chief returned June 12, from her six-month deployment.

Her responsibilities included ensuring the base populace had access to food, water and lodging. She also oversaw the fitness center, sports operations, linens, and crisis and humanitarian response.

"We offered fitness programs because it was important that the Airmen had an outlet and spent time exercising," Patton said. "The programs were designed to help Airmen meet fitness standards. We also held monthly 5K runs to boost morale."

Another area Patton worked on was ensuring rations were stocked, water was distributed and power continued services.

"I dealt with a lot of power outages," she said. "It got really hot when it was more than 100 degrees, which created frustration; we handled the issues to the best of our ability for our Airmen."

Another challenge in her position was handling a customs strike because a lot of their food products came from outside the border.

"The food strike took about a week to resolve, but service sustained uninterrupted," Patton said.

While Patton was faced with trials, she said what she gained overall was a positive experience she will never forget.

"It was a real learning experience," she said. "I was also fortunate enough to work alongside and be deployed with some of the best people I have ever met."

In addition to her duties, Patton also volunteered; she was on the company-grade officer council and worked base clean-up. She also had the opportunity to work with the honor guard detail at a dining-in function.

According to her deployed supervisor, Lt. Col. Heather Meyer, Chief, Manpower, Personnel and Services, office of legislative liaison for the Secretary of the Air Force, said it was not uncommon for Patton to lend a hand and be one of the first ones to step up in any given situation.

"Captain Patton was an incredible leader at our deployed location," Meyer said. "She was able to quickly galvanize Airmen from five different locations into a hard charging team providing top notch services underpinning the 386th AEW's mission success. Meanwhile, she was an informal leader for the Airmen from Whiteman during the deployment; she's a real unifier."

Although Patton's deployment was notable, she said she missed her family, friends and her puppy, Baxter.

"I don't think any other deployment could live up to this one, but of course I would go again," Patton said.