ACE members help improve life on base

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- -- Have you ever wanted to volunteer but were unsure where to look for opportunities? If so, the Armed Forces Committed to Excellence organization may be a good place to start.

ACE is a joint-service private organization on base that is committed to improving the quality of life on military installations with members who are active participants in both on and off base volunteer activities. The organization is open to servicemembers in grades E1-E4 and provides activities for participants while offering benefits for those who join.

Although ACE began as Airmen Committed to Excellence, the name and organization changed several years ago, opening the door to other branches and emphasizing the joint-service force.

Not all bases have a program similar to ACE. Since it is a private organization not affiliated with the military, junior servicemembers are charged with forming and maintaining the organization for each base.

This year, members here have contributed to base fundraisers and committed time and service throughout the Wing. They helped setup the Air Force Ball and provided toys and babysitters for the event. So far this year, ACE has raised $1,000 for various base projects.

Currently, ACE is participating in a joint effort with the 5/6 Council, a similar organization open to grades E5-E6, and the Training Squadrons to create the base's first haunted house and trunk or treat. The activities will be held at the Medical Clinic and the Pediatric Center on Oct.31 and the organizations are still seeking volunteers.

Senior Airman Eric Messer, 17th Communications Squadron, was elected this year's president of the Goodfellow chapter of ACE in June and has worked to increase the number of events ACE members participate in.

In addition to volunteer activities, Airman Messer said he has tried to increase the number of morale-boosting events for junior servicemembers. ACE members periodically challenge the 5/6 Council to sporting events to boost friendly competition and promote teamwork while providing networking opportunities.

ACE members also organized a bowling event at the Bowling Center here Sept. 24 to promote spirit de corps for junior servicemembers.

Airman Messer said events like this are not just an opportunity for members to have fun, it also gives them a chance to meet peers from different squadrons and share ideas.

"I think networking is important for servicemembers," he said. "It gives us a chance to interact with people from all over base and promotes healthy professional relationships with our peers."

Airman First Class, Jake Tyson, 17th CS, is an ACE member who advocates the opportunities ACE provides. Airman Tyson, who helped with the Air Force Ball as well as the bowling event, said his time in ACE has made him a more well-rounded Airman and he enjoys being able to give back to the community.

The organization has regular meetings at the beginning of each month as well as others throughout the month to plan, organize and execute various activities. Membership costs $10 a year and the fee covers some of the morale-boosting activities. Those interested in joining ACE or volunteering for the haunted house, can contact Airman Messer at (325)654-5224 or e-mail eric.messer@goodfellow.af.mil.