NEWS | May 16, 2018

628th Air Base Wing March 2018 Commander’s Call Questions and Answers

628th Air Base Wing

Q: Any update on having more areas to conduct the running portion for PT test other than the red track?

A: The 628th ABW is working with the 437th AW to see if we can safely conduct the running portion of the test at another location besides the running track. The safety of those testing is paramount. We must ensure testers are not in harm's way when it comes to vehicle traffic and remain visible to those monitoring the testing in case a medical emergency occurs.

Q: Can Wing Staff Agencies with ideas for innovation in their unit be considered for the Innovation Fund?

A: Yes, the Wing Staff Agency has its own innovation funds available.  Fire away with ideas!

Q: Do you foresee any changes in the near future to increase manning in the Command?

A: To improve readiness, the FY19 President's Budget would grow the AF end strength by 4,700 Airmen (Active Duty, Guard and Reserve). While 4,700 additional Airmen will help, we do not project a significant AMC manning increase.

Q: Why are we getting a low percentage of seats at Palmetto Scholar?

A: As a South Carolina State Charter School located on a Federal Installation, Palmetto Scholars Academy has agreed to set-aside 20 percent of their scholastic allocations for the dependents of Active Duty military beginning with the 6th grade before they hold their annual lottery. This amounts to 15 available ‘allocations’ per academic grade, per year. The agreement is only 20 percent because the school must also serve the local community, priority children, children of staff and other requirements based on the laws prescribed in the SC State Charter School Act. As of the 2017-2018 school year, military dependent allocations was approximately 14 percent, however, we have worked with leadership of PSA to outline new procedures that ensure the 20 percent target is met. Based upon the initial lottery results, we anticipate those numbers to increase for the 2018-2019 school year and future years until we meet the minimum goal of 20 percent. PSA has also agreed to hold the military allocations until the summer since many military assignments do not know they will be coming to Charleston until after the PSA lottery. Installation leadership is heavily engaged with this issue and will continue to work with PSA to advocate student allocations that exceed the 20 percent requirement for years to come.

Q: Are there any plans to help expand access to better schools for parents of school age children living on base?

A: Children of Service Members who reside on the air base are serviced by Charleston County Schools. Families have a “one time” election to attend Lambs Elementary or Hunley Park Elementary (K-5).

Middle school students (6-8) are assigned to Zucker Middle School, a science magnet school. Stall High School (9-12) is a state of the art facility that is demonstrating strong improvement under new leadership. Be aware -- Information found on Internet sites such as Great Schools.org do not accurately reflect the most current data for a school.  Parents should study data found on the South Carolina Department of Education Website, and discuss data/options with the JB Charleston School Liaison Officer. South Carolina is expected to have school ratings added to school report cards for the 2018- 2019 school year.

That said, Charleston County’s Resolution to Accommodate Military Families significantly expands access to Choice School Options for military families. It provides:

  Extended magnet school application periods for military families arriving outside the normal application deadlines.

  The Choice Application for Military Families provides inbound families a choice of up to three schools they would like to attend. Transportation to a choice school varies, depending on the individual school.

  Applications are submitted directly to the Charleston County School District office as noted on the application. A copy of your orders will be required as well.

All Active Duty military families attached to the JB Charleston Weapon Station and living on the installation are serviced by Berkeley County Schools. Marrington Elementary School serves grades Kindergarten to 5th grade. There is a full day 4 year old program for families that meet the household income criteria. Marrington Middle School of the Arts is an arts infused magnet school for grades 6-8. The school has been awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award and a Palmetto’s Finest designation.

Goose Creek High School and the Berkeley Center for the Arts provide comprehensive 9-12 curriculum.

All Active Duty military families that are residents of Berkeley County may enroll their school age children in the Marrington Schools. Be aware that transportation is ONLY provided for on-base residents living 1.25 miles, or greater, from the school.

I encourage you to reach out to discuss these, or any other concerns you may have regarding the local schools with our School Liaison Officer on base at 843-963-4406.

Q: Recently, we had a retiree driving a cab try to come through the gate, but his cab company isn't allowed on base. What would be the protocol if that happens?

A:  Cab companies can submit a request to the Visitor Control Center to have their cab drivers vetted and be issued a Defense Biometrics Identification (DBID) card for access to pick-up and drop-off personnel on JB CHS, providing they pass the vetting process. A letter pertaining to all information on what is required can be obtained at the Visitor Control Center. Individual cab drivers can also follow the same guidelines. Cab drivers that are denied base access can use the appeal process which will be provided by the Visitor Control Center staff.

Q: When will the LEOSA Concealed Carry for the Base be implemented?

A: The draft instruction for LEOSA carry has been drafted and is in coordination. I would roughly target fall timeframe for implementation.

Q: One of the benefits touted for the new Real ID is that individuals will have access to the military installations. What would be the process for that?

A: The Real ID doesn't allow access to military installations. What it does is allow individuals with Real ID-compliant ID cards to utilize those credentials for vetting purposes, while non-compliant state IDs cannot be utilized as a form of identification

Q: How likely is it that Hill Boulevard be expanded into two lanes each way from Arthur to the light at O’Neal? What is the timeframe?

A: It is unlikely that Hill Blvd will be expanded in the near term. Based on our analysis of traffic patterns,

 an expanded Hill Blvd would not add much value as Dorchester Road and the Hill-Dorchester intersection are the real limiting factors causing traffic delays on Hill Blvd.

Q: When will the upgrade to the male showers at the fitness centers be completed?

A: The upgrade to the male showers at the fitness center is expected to be complete by mid-May.

Q: With poor lighting throughout base housing and numerous lights out, who is responsible to have them fixed?  Hunt informed us that they are waiting for CES to get money. Is that true?

A: 628 CES is responsible for providing power to street pole lights, while Hunt is responsible for maintaining the lights in good working order. There have been some challenges maintaining the street lights in Hunley Park recently, but Hunt continues to replace burned- out lights as they're reported, and CES continues to help Hunt troubleshoot the underlying root cause.

Q: The lighting on base at night is very low, especially around the gates. Is there any way we can get more permanent lighting?

A: CES and SFS conduct periodic reviews and upgrades of the lighting at all gates on the joint base to ensure the safety of base personnel and gate guards. We're currently in the midst of a lighting upgrade at the Weapons Station's Gate 4 (Remount Road entrance to the South Annex) whereby all lighting at the guard shacks will be replaced with more luminescent and sustainable LED lighting.

Q: Due to the expansion and additional personal assigned to NPTU, will consideration ever be giving to expanding Red Bank Road to alleviate congestion during peak hours?

A: Red Bank Road is a state road, so it would need to be expanded by the State of SC. The community is very concerned about traffic issues and is working to improve traffic as funding allows. It is likely Red Bank Road will be expanded at some point, but that would be based on how the state traffic studies prioritize it within their overall traffic management plans. JB Charleston leadership will continue to advocate for an expansion of Red Bank Road through the SC Department of Transportation.

Q: Is there any idea of when a new Fire Station on the flightline will be built?

A: In FY17, Congress appropriated $17M to construct a new Fire Crash/Rescue Station on the flightline. CES is currently working with the AF Civil Engineer Center to finalize the request for contractors' proposals to design and construct the new station. We expect to award the contract by 30 Sep 18, at which time a construction schedule will be determined.

Q: Is there any talk about upgrading/fixing the perpetual comm. issues on base?

A: The Air Force is updating Internet Technology Services at an enterprise level. The project is called "Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services." The first part of this upgrade is to migrate e-mail to cloud based service. Joint Base Charleston is currently scheduled to migrate e-mail to this new platform in June 2018. This e-mail migration will increase the storage size of each users account and will allow for members to keep their e-mails throughout their career. The next phase of this upgrade will include personal drives for each user. More information will follow as the plans get finalized.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing issues please remember to create a trouble-ticket using the "Helpdesk" icon on your work computer's desktop.

Q: What are the plans for the base theater?  Will it be used to show movies again?

A: After the base theater closed as an AAFES theater, the Charleston Club on the Air Base was used to show movies, which we’ve found has worked well for our audiences. While the base theater remains equipped to show movies, there are no plans to move away from the Club at this time.

Q: Is there any talk about replacing the carpet in the men’s locker room at the fitness center?

A: Yes there is. We are waiting for the completion of the current project in the Men’s locker room for

contractors to come into the fitness center and replace the carpet throughout the facility. We hope to have the carpet project complete by late summer.

Q: Is there a solution in place for the CDC waitlist for mil to mil or single parents?

A: We continue to try to look for solutions to ease the waitlist for our Priority 1 parents at both Joint Base Charleston Child Development Centers. We are exploring various options to increase capacity at our centers, to include reconfiguring classrooms to accommodate infants/pre-toddlers, conduct off- installation recruiting drives for providers, as well as submit for a construction project to increase the size of the centers.

Q:  Any plans to have an outside weight training area?

A: Yes there is. We are nearing completion on an outdoor weight training equipment area to be located in the batting cage behind the softball fields (behind the Air Base fitness center). We are waiting on some final equipment to arrive and to fix a few areas in the batting cage to ensure it is a safe environment. We hope to open this area sometime this summer.

Q: What is AFPC doing to accelerate the hiring of civilians?

A: I hear you loud and clear, share in your frustration, and recognize the mission impact of having positions vacant for extended periods of time. Maj. Gen. Brian Kelly, the AFPC team, and our local Personnel Office are all taking actions to mitigate the bottleneck and aggressively address the hiring process, but the repair will take time and resources. For example, we provide a list of our top five positions to AFPC each week for them to work through the current step of the hiring process. The weekly list changes based on the actions AFPC is able to take during each step of the process. We have seen great success with this process.

Q: How long is the process from enlisted to officer?

A: Once you meet the basic eligibility requirements to become an officer, there are multiple ways to become an officer. If you currently possess a bachelor’s degree, Officer Training School may be a good fit for you. Once the program begins, it is a rigorous nine-and-a-half-week program designed to challenge you both mentally and physically.

Q: Would you be able to tell us a little about the test for the new BOP application process starting April 1.

A: The Air Force has approved an enhanced base of preference (BOP) program for First-Term Airmen (FTA) and career Airmen.

FTA must have an approved career job reservation prior to application and must submit their BOP requests prior to reenlistment. FTA BOP applications are considered on a monthly-basis. If you are a FTA and 60 days have passed since your in-system application, you should request status through the Force Management Section at 963-4533, or by email at 628FSS.FSMPM@us.af.mil.

Career Airmen may apply for either an in-place BOP or CONUS-to-CONUS BOP. Airmen must have 41 months TOS at the time of application and at least four years TOS before PCS departure. Career Airmen must not be selected for PCS or have an assignment selection date. In addition, Airmen must not be an overseas volunteer or have any other voluntary applications pending. Applicants must be eligible for PCS without waivers. Consecutive BOPs in any combination are not authorized. Individuals approved for a BOP will appreciate a two-year assignment deferment. Career Airmen BOP applications  are considered quarterly (e.g. April, July, October, and January) after each overseas returnee/CONUS mandatory-mover cycle. Therefore, if 130 days have elapsed from the month your application should have been considered, you should request status through the Force Management Section at 963-4533, or by email at 628FSS.FSMPM@us.af.mil.


Q: What is the cleaning schedule for the restrooms at the red track? The restrooms are always a mess and the trash is always overflowing.

A. Thanks for feedback. We’ll ensure management puts a larger focus on this area. For awareness, the rooms are supposed to be cleaned three times per week, but we have agreed with the contractor to make a change to the frequency of cleaning. Beginning this May, the rooms will be cleaned daily.

Q: Are there plans to resurface the red track in the near future?

A: The Air Base PT track was constructed in 2009 with the running surface having a 10+ year service life. The PT track length was officially certified in October 2016, and Ground Safety also conducted an inspection of the PT track during October 2016 and found no deficiencies with the current physical state of the track. We will continue to monitor the running surface; resurfacing will be proactively programmed for the next few years as the track surface nears the end of its programmed service life.

Q: Why are there grocery cart return bins in the parking lot of the BX and not the Commissary?

A: DECA generally does not authorize "cart corrals" at their Commissaries across installations, however, there have been exceptions made at locations were the parking lots are very large or are a fair distance or "geographically separated" from the store. The parking area here is considered neither too large nor is it considered to be geographically separated from the store itself. Additionally, here on the Air Base there are only 225 allocated parking spots within the Commissary parking lot.  Of those 225 spots, 35 are designated as handicap spots (as required by the American Disabilities Act) and six other reserved spots designated as well. Additionally, the commissary has 57 employees who use the parking lot. This leaves 127 parking spots for patrons. One traffic cart corral takes up a total of 6 parking spots. If we install two corrals, that leaves only 115 spots for patrons. Base leadership looked at this issue with Commissary management several years ago and a collective decision was made to not have cart corrals.

Q: I recently applied for distant learning, (NCO DL) and no one on base seems to be able to guide me through the process. Who knows about this process that can help me or can you provide information on NCO DL?

A: Please visit the Joint Base Charleston Education Center, or give them a call at 963-4579, where our education counselors will gladly help guide you through the process.

Q: When will TSgt EPRs go in PRDA? Close out was almost four months ago.

A: All TSgt EPRs were due to AFPC on 31 Jan 2018. By now, members should see their EPR reflecting as current in PRDA. If you have a member without their records updated in PRDA accurately, please contact the Force Management Section at 963-4533, or by email at 628FSS.FSMPM@us.af.mil.

Q: Will there be funding for more motorcycle classes, i.e. dirt bike, advance rider classes, and other MSF classes?

A: As of 7 April 2018 we resumed offering MSF basic rider and advanced rider motorcycle training classes.  We do not offer dirt bike classes.

Q: What are your thoughts on how the Wing will interact with the Defense Health Agency after the DHA rollout in October 2018?

A: The MDG's transition and oversight to the DHA should be a seamless event for patients. We will continue to provide service and assistance in the same product lines we currently have and at this time expect no changes or adjustments in patient services.

The MDG will continue to have a Director of Base Medical Services (DBMS) that will continue to interact with the ABW and AW Leadership. The ABW will be able to continue to interact with the DBMS for all questions/issues medical including those influenced or led by the DHA. In addition, the DHA oversight will be staggered over time as new policies and structures are developed.