GROTON, Conn. – The Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) onboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London celebrated 40 years of serving Sailors and their families, Sept. 24.
The celebration included a cake-cutting, party hats and balloon animals, a birthday card and displays of the numerous services FFSC offers.
“Our mission is to provide the essential skills Sailors and their families need to adapt to any changes they experience so their lives in the military can be successful,” said Barbara Ross, director of SUBASE FFSC. “Whether that’s learning to better handle money or be a parent, or how to cope with deployment, if they are moving and have never done that and there is nobody here they can turn to for help, we provide for that. There are a lot of things unique to military families that are not common to a civilian family. That’s a niche we fill.”
FFSC began in 1979 but quickly proved so useful to Sailors and their families that offices opened at installations across the world to support the Navy’s global presence. As its reach expanded, so did its range of programs.
“The celebration was to recognize 40 years of the work FFCS has done across the world,” said Ross. “They started as one or two-person offices providing answers to tough questions and counseling. That was in the late 70s. Today we have 25 people here and we have 15 or 16 independent services we can provide families with.”
People who attended the event had the opportunity to make birthday party hats, sign FFSC’s birthday card and receive balloon animals. SUBASE Commanding Officer Capt. Todd Moore cut the cake and toasted to FFSC.
“I consider Fleet and Family to be a mission-critical element of the base because without what you do, Sailors would be on deployment, distracted by worries about their families [being] taken care of,” said Moore following the toast. “The Navy enjoys a very strong commitment to getting the mission done, and we can only support that because of the great services you provide. So on behalf of your grateful customers, thank you. I wish you another happy 40 years here at SUBASE and more!”
Reflecting on the celebration and the 40 years of service to military families it honored, Ross said a key facet of FFSC is the passion demonstrated by its staff for their mission to provide for those they serve.
“I think one of the things that sets FFSC apart is that people don’t choose to work here because it’s a job. They come on board because it’s a passion that they have. It’s a passion that comes through in the way all of us deliver our services and care for families and services with such compassion and empathy. It’s not an easy life style for a lot of people. It can be rough. The rigors of a submariner’s life can be pretty harsh. The staff we have works really hard to make sure every family and service member can be successful. They are all dedicated to that. It’s not just a job, it’s a passion. And that’s what we’re celebrating today.”
SUBASE Fleet and Family Support Center is located in Building 83 South across from Dealey Center Theater. SUBASE FFSC can be reached by calling (860) 694-3383 and can be followed on social media.