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NEWS | Dec. 28, 2017

628th Air Base Wing Commander’s Call Nov. 16, 2017 Questions and Answers

By 628th ABW 628th ABW

Q: What is an appropriate response to nonessential personnel being forced to return from evacuation days prior to Wing guidance, for future reference.


A: Evacuees are not expected to return before the Limited Evacuation Order is rescinded or amended.

For Hurricane Irma, evacuees were ordered to return to their residences beginning on 10 Sep 17 and were expected to return not later than 12 Sep 17. The 3‐day period for the return was to allow evacuees to return as soon as it was safe to do so given the weather and road conditions from their safe haven locations to their residence. The intent was not, however, for people to remain in a safe‐haven location until the last minute to maximize their reimbursable expenses. If an evacuee has issues returning in the timeframe designated, they should contact their chain of command for guidance.


Q: Why is it that in the evacuation order it mandates that all pets are to be evacuated, but pet fees are not reimbursed?


A: Evacuees were ordered to evacuate their pets so as to protect the health and welfare of their pets.

Unfortunately, the Joint Travel Regulation does not allow for reimbursement for pet travel.


Q: Can we get incentive rides on C17 for quarterly winners?


A: We are currently working with the 437th Airlift Wing to get incentive rides for award winners…more information to come.


Q: Where are we at with securing the WS along Red Bank Road?


A: We continue to advocate for a perimeter security fence along Red Bank Road. The project is the base’s #1 military construction (MILCON) project. We are currently in the process of advocating with Air

Mobility Command for the project. Given the limited funds available for MILCON across the Air Force, however, the project will have to rank high in both the AMC and AF lists to have a hope of being funded in the near term. We are hopeful that even if the project is not funded in the near term, we are able to gain funding to allow for project design.


Q: With regard to giving offbase organizations easier access onto the base, is it going to still be safe and secure? Will there still be robust security measures in place?


A: Yes, there will still be adequate security measures in place. We will still accomplish a thorough background check the same way we do now. We are just streamlining the paperwork process to make it less cumbersome. Merchants/vendors that have a valid need to come on base will be able to do so more efficiently, which will ultimately be good for everyone residing and working on‐base.


Q: With opening up the DFAC to all personnel and the rise of lone wolf and active shooter attacks, what steps are being taken to protect service members’ at large gathering sites like a dining facility?


A: We take security of the base and our personnel very seriously. For security reasons, I am unable to explain all the security measures we currently have in place or plan to put in place when the dining facility reopens. Rest assured protecting our personnel will remain a top priority.


Q: Any plan for town hall meetings at the Weapons Station?


A: Yes, I plan to hold town hall meetings on both the Air Base and Weapons Station in the spring timeframe.


Q: Is JB Charleston still supporting Puerto Rico relief efforts?


A: Yes, we are still supporting Puerto Rico relief efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to extend the use of Joint Base Charleston as an Intermediate Staging Base for relief efforts to

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands through mid‐December. The USNS Brittin has made two trips to

Puerto Rico with relief supplies.


Q: Any thought to changing some section's reporting hours to combat the Dorchester/I26 traffic?


A: We continue to engage with local municipalities and the state on the traffic issues in the local area.

There are a number of projects in development and a number of no‐cost ways to deal with traffic. As you mention, offsetting reporting hours is one such option. Reporting hours are at the discretion of unit leadership depending on the unit mission.


Q: Are there any updates regarding the topic of not writing EPRs for E1 through E3 personnel?


A: CMSAF Wright has spoken about this on several occasions recently as an initiative but nothing has been officially released yet.


Q: With the removal of the mandatory requirement for course 14/15 is there still going to be the enforced completion time of one year? And if not completed?


A: Air University's policy is 12 months completion after the self‐enrollment date. A 4-month extension may be requested by the enrolled member with no adverse impact (the extension does not require an approval).


Q: Any updates on the switch from ABUs to ACUs?


A: In October, HAF authorized Airmen assigned to Battlefield Airmen units to wear the Army Combat

Uniform (ACU) Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) in an effort to better enable these Airmen to perform in their daily work and training environment. No additional guidance for the rest of the force has been released.


Q: When is the DFAC renovation scheduled to be completed?


A: The dining facility is projected to open in late summer under Food Service 2.0/Food Transformation.

When the facility reopens, anyone with base access will be able to dine at the facility. Additionally, the capability for a “campus dining” concept for Essential Station Messing (ESM) personnel (meal card holders) is projected to be implemented at the same time as the DFAC re‐opening. This program allows for ESM personnel to utilize any FSS food facility using their meal card.


Q: Will there be volunteer opportunities for the Air show?


A: Yes. We will need many base personnel to help put on a great Airshow on April 28, 2018. As a result, for many Airmen the airshow will be a workday. The Friday (April 27, 2018) before the airshow will be a family day and anyone with base access will be able to see all the acts perform their practice show and tour the static displays. We are also planning a Family Fest that afternoon with food and entertainment. More details to come.


Q: Are the Irma ride out and recovery teams going to be recognized even though the hurricane did not hit Charleston?


A: The base leadership has repeatedly thanked all of the personnel on the ride out and recovery teams across Joint Base Charleston at various events. While there is no specific plan for group recognition, supervisors are highly encouraged to nominate individuals for specific recognition as they desire.


Q: Are we planning do accomplish an ORE in 2018 in line with the increase in readiness?


A: The SECAF and CSAF have identified Restoring Readiness as their top priority. Restoring Readiness will take many forms with exercises being one component. We are in the process of finalizing our exercise schedule for 2018. While I can’t say we whether or not we will have an ORE in 2018, we will have exercises that ensure we are ready for our missions.


Q: If furniture is damaged in the dorms, how long for them to get replaced?


A: If/when dorm staff or FMO are notified of damage, they will replace said item within 1‐2 business days.


Q: Is it possible to adjust the timing of the red lights on/off base?


A: The timing of the lights are programmed by the city and are done to maximize throughput of traffic.

CE is working with city to help improve our traffic flow, but we cannot change the timing ourselves.


Q: How do we get trees trimmed around housing so that sidewalks are more available for running and walking without getting hit by branches?


A: Grounds maintenance in housing is done by the privatized housing contractor (Hunt or Balfour‐

Beatty). If you have concerns or requests for tree trimming in the housing area, please contact the privatized housing office for action.


Q: Can the dorm Airman get full sized refrigerators?

A: Full sized refrigerators are only authorized in Quad dorm configuration as most other dorm rooms are not large enough to accommodate full size refrigerators.


Q: Is there a plan to extend Palmetto Commerce into the back gate?


A: Charleston County has a desire to eventually extend Palmetto Commerce Parkway from International

Boulevard to Ashley Phosphate Road. The county is not certain where the connection to Arthur Drive will be made as they are still exploring alternatives for the routing of the extension project.


Q: When is the steam room going to work in the ladies locker room?


A: CE is working diligently to catch up on all requirements in the HVAC arena with the limited manpower and funds we have to work with. We will work on this repair when all higher priority tasks are completed.


Q: When will building T80 be torn down and replaced?


A: Building T80 is scheduled to remain in operation until the Flight Line Support Facility Military

Construction (MILCON) project is authorized for design and construction. This project is not expected to be congressionally funded within the next 5 years.


Q: When are the plans for the men's showers to be renovated expected?


A: The project to renovate the men’s showers was awarded at the end of September and began at the end of November. The project is currently scheduled to be complete by the end of May. While the men’s showers are closed for renovation, the showers in the men’s DV locker room and next door at the base pool are open for use by all men.


Q: What is the update on creating an area onbase to get truck traffic off Remount Rd?

A: The project to create a truck traffic entrance off Remount Road was awarded at the end of

September. The Contractor is currently conducting a site survey and developing documents to obtain the necessary permits for construction. Project is currently scheduled to be complete by the end of next summer.


Q: Can the middle lane coming out of the front gate turn both ways on Dorchester Rd. since you have to wait for the light to turn green to turn anyways?


A: Unfortunately not at this time. The intersection is a 4‐way intersection due to the shopping center entrance/exit on the west side of Dorchester Road. The shopping center exit to Dorchester Rd is a right turn only, but not controlled by the traffic light. In order to provide a double‐left turn, SCDOT would have to add a traffic light for the shopping center exit. This addition would further adversely impacting the flow of traffic on Dorchester Road.


Q: Is there a plan to 4lane Red Bank Road all the way to Gate 1?

A: No, there are no current plans for widening Red Bank Rd.


Q: What's the policy for CE turning heat on in buildings (i.e. 5 days at 40 degrees or below)?


A: CES doesn't use a degree‐days criteria to turn on the heating systems. For heating systems with boilers, we start our annual inspection and preventative maintenance program in the early fall and then fire them up so heat is available in all facilities when the thermostats trigger their need. We do not artificially withhold heat from facilities for energy efficiency purposes. All facilities should have working heat at this time. If a facility’s heat is not working, please let CE know.


Q: What are your thoughts on allowing handguns in locked cases to allow for concealed carry to and from base?


A: Currently there are no plans to allow the storage of firearms in vehicles while on Joint Base Charleston.



Q: Will there be a relook at allowing those with concealed carry permit to carry on base?


A: With the exception of Law Enforcement Officers, Airmen may not carry personal firearms on military installations. Per DODD 5210.56 and AFI 31‐117 the Installation Commander has limited authority to arm Airmen. The AMC/CC authorized three programs for AMC Installation Commander's to pursue. These include the Security Forces Staff Arming, Unit Marshal Program (UMP), and Security Forces Airmen who attain a Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) credential. All three programs are options for installation commanders to apply consistent with existing authorities and in consideration of the threat to their installations. Again, none of these programs will allow non‐LEOSA credentialed personnel to carry concealed on any installations.


Q: In the base paper two months ago, it stated personnel with LEOSA credentials can carry concealed weapons at JB CHS. Is that true?


A: At this time, only active Law Enforcement Personnel may carry weapons on base. The article in the base paper you reference was a description of the LEOSA program, which has not been implemented on Joint Base Charleston at this time.


Q: Has anyone ever considered auto ID card readers at the gate like at Ft Benning, for instance?


A: Auto ID card readers would not be a viable option at Joint Base Charleston due to the volume of traffic and also to ensure the safety and security of the installation. Also, Auto ID readers, such as the one at Ft. Benning, are quite expensive and have some difficulties to keep operational. Currently the auto ID card readers at Ft. Benning have been suspended until further notice.


Q: Can leadership assist with expediting AFPC hiring process? It takes six months and longer from RPA to just get a cert.


A: Your leadership has been holding direct conversations with the AFPC Commander, specifically related to the hiring vacancy problem you describe. While there are various reasons that created the situation, we are doing everything we can locally to assist AFPC and lessen the vacancy time, including offering to send personnel experts to San Antonio to assist. AFPC has given us the ability to prioritize desired staff actions for them to work for JB CHS on a weekly basis.


Q: Will spouse pay be paid back for the hours they missed at work (regarding hurricane evacuation).


A: Per the Joint Travel Regulation and DOD Financial Management Regulation, the only authorized entitlements for non‐military dependents are travel expenses and per diem, provided they evacuated to a designated safe haven.


Q: Is the Thrift Shop closing?


A: The Consignment Shop is closed until January 2018 due to manning and reorganization issues. The plan is for it to re‐open with original hours. Note that the Consignment Shop is operated as a private organization by the Spouses Club and they will have final say in when it reopens. NOTE: the Airman’s Attic that is located in the same building as (but not part of) the Consignment Shop remains open normal hours.


Q: Is there any way to allow civilian firefighters to purchase a small amount of groceries from the commissary while on duty?


A: The Defense Commissary Agency is guided by DoD regulations which restrict who is able to utilize the

Commissary. At this time, use of the commissary by civilian firefighters is not permitted.


Q: How long will it take for personnel records to reflect the AFOUA?


A: If you were/are assigned to the 628 ABW for the inclusion period of the award (1 Oct 2015 – 30 Sep

2017), your records have already been updated with this award via a batch update by the Military

Personnel Flight and should now be visible on vMPF. If the award is not visible, please visit the MPF

Force Management Office in Bldg. 503 or contact us at DSN: 673‐4553 or 637‐4486.


Q: Could the football field behind the BX be updated to turf to avoid holes in the field and injuries to people playing?


A: Yes, plans are being developed to upgrade the current turf conditions at the Air Base football and soccer field. Project completion is dependent on funding, but we plan on having something ready to implement within the next 1‐2 years. Part of this project includes cost comparisons between installing a new maintenance free artificial turf field instead of replacing irrigation systems, laying new grass/sod and annual maintenance associated with a grass athletic field. Our long term goal is to replace the existing grass field with artificial turf to sustain year round playing conditions.


Q: Can we get more parking spaces for the gym?


A: Currently there are no plans to expand the current parking lots at the Air Base Fitness and Sports

Center. Over flow parking currently exists and is provided behind the Base Pool and across Davis Street at the Air Base Theater. A study was done in the recent past to look at redesigning the current parking lot and it was determined that the current spot configuration maximizes the number of spots available.


Q: Will the updated DFAC accept debit/credit cards instead of only cash like previously?


A: Yes, under Food 2.0 our non‐ESM patrons and customers will be able to pay with alternative methods such as debit and/or credit cards in addition to the cash payment option.


Q: Is there any chance that we will be able to do the 1.5 mile run other than on the red track?


A: Prior to opening the 400 Meter Oval Track in 2009 (Red Track), the single lane 1/2 mile rubber exercise path (AKA Sponge Bob Track) was temporarily used for Active Duty PT Testing. The rubber 1/2 mile track was not very popular with runners due to overall quality and route layout. Also, testing officials did not have a direct line of sight of Airmen during tests which presented accountability and safety concerns. There is one route that will be looked into using that follows the road to the back gate and returns to the starting line. We will look at the benefits and costs (human capital) to make that option available and then determine if it is a better and viable option.