I have not seen any posts by known Services folks, so I thought I'd be the first one. I've been retired almost 2 years and not sure if any major changes have happened since then, but there's many issues I'd like to bring up, good and bad:

1. The Food Transformation Initiative. Turned our operation into a nightmare. Unofficially, the reason it was initiated was to make money for our already broke government. At Elmendorf, we were one of the first bases. Ability One, or for a more precise term, handicapped employees, had their hours cut in half or jobs altogether! The Services troops had to work twice as hard and now made to do salads, prepping, and working the serving line. Shift leaders are responsible for cash register operations before and after the meal. The contract employees were strictly KP and cashiers afterwards. The government cooks didn't have to worry about much, because they're already well taken care of and have the union on their side. The companies that entered into a contract with the Air Force, Aramark and Sodexo, are not very reputable and known for paying their employees cheaply and dysfunctional management. Aramark has a monopoly on most of the public universities in America. Officially, the main reason this was initiated was a wider menu selection, more flexible eating hours, and to permit ALL base personnel to eat there. But prices are now inflated. Also, the supposed objective was to teach the Airmen the "real world" of food service. No, in actuality, the real world in food service is even tougher, even if you are a chef and been to culinary school. Unless you work in remote camps, on ships or boats, or for the government as a cook or supervisor (a thing of the past for the most part), you are going to make low wages and be worked to the bone! I don't know many that worked in the food service business after separation or retirement, and rightfully so! I LOVE cooking and part of my job is cooking that I now do at radar sites all over Alaska and grateful I'm not slaving away as a short order cook or manager at a restaurant!

2. Having civilians from the HAWC evaluate those for PT assessment tests instead of having a trained and qualified Fitness Specialist do the assessment. Why? I was in fitness at Lackland from about 1996 to 2001 and during those years, not much to learn, except facility and equipment maintenance, laundering, and cashier operations. Fitness and Sports was always low-skill and quite frankly, it should be made a NAF civilian job Air Force-wide! You rarely need the job in the field, since it's always contracted out or self-service.

3. The good ole "Air Force Services Agency" in San Antonio. You talk about an unfriendly and impersonal environment! I went there for a week long class some 10 years ago and didn't really learn anything that important. Most of the folks there are what I call "Randolphed". If you've been stationed at or around people stationed at Randolph AFB, you'll know what I mean!

4. Personnel. I've seen other career fields, particularly Medical and aircraft maintenance folks and they seem tightly knit and like family. Not so for Services! Dysfunctional is putting it nicely. Every other person I've known is either oppressed, cranky, unmotivated, on a power kick, or a backstabber. Most of the higher-uppers I've known over the years (E8 and above, especially) got there because they stepped on a lot of toes or did a lot of politicking.

5. Use of Service folks on deployments--do they need Services Specialists or contractors? Half the places like Bagram they have contractors, in Kuwait and Al Udeid, they have TCN's hired, while Services folks supervise them for cleanliness. At Diego Garcia, I was handing out movies and recreation equipment, but at my year long deployment in Afghanistan, I indeed worked and was running a small DFAC on a FOB of about 250 people that had me and 2 other Air Force and local hires making $200 a month.

6. Putting us and the Army together, particularly cooks. Not a good idea. Army food service is rigorous, even though their food is average at best, and you talk about some folks on a power craze that are E7's and above and Warrant Officers! They are a different breed. Keep us divided in that area. Living together is fine, just not working together!

---Just wanted to get this off my chest, as a relatively disgruntled and retired Services guy. I generally minded my own business throughout the years, stationed at only 3 bases (Barksdale, Lackland, and Elmendorf) and saw a lot of good and bad. And though I retired as a TSgt and had only 5 points in medals my whole career (the penalty for not PCS'ing every 3 years, LOL), I'm proud to have served my country and loved what I did. My years as a cook at Barksdale and Elmendorf and years as a QAE at Lackland were my favorite.