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Commander's Call answers JB Charleston questions

| Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | Jan. 10, 2019

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — The following are the questions raised during the 628th Air Base Wing Commander’s Call Dec. 11, 2018, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., with the subsequent answers provided:

 

MSG:

1. Most air base housing street lights have been out for months and private housing hasn’t fixed it or won't. Can you help?

The contractor has been working this for several months with mixed results. They have recently gone to replacing the entire lamp circuitry and lights with new LED fixtures. They will be slightly brighter and also save energy. You should notice significant progress as they are about half complete.

2. When is the DFAC opening?

Currently the DFAC is still on track to open in the first quarter of 2019.

3. Will the commissary ever get shopping cart receptacles?

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 6 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.

4. Why did the CDC menu switch to overly healthy food that my toddler isn’t going to eat? (Lunch today was Cajun fish and afternoon snack is roasted parmesan cauliflower with marinara sauce.)

As part of an OSD-led initiative to ensure children taking part in military child care were fed nourishing and healthy meals, all Air Force CDCs were directed to use a new standardized healthy menu. These menus were developed by nutritionists to ensure children were fed healthy, balanced meals that met USDA guidelines.

5. Can we put a gate off of Cross County Road?

Unfortunately not. We don’t own property along Cross County Road. Also, a new gate would have to meet all force protection requirements and impact Security Forces manning.

6. What is the status of the policy allowing the storage of firearms in our vehicles?

The 628 ABW/CC approved privately-owned weapons transport and temporary storage in privately-owned vehicles. The 628 SFS Team is working on the implementation plan that includes educating the base populace on the rules, advertising the change in policy to all personnel (to include local retirees), and developing and educating Defenders on the process and legal procedures to follow for personnel who fail to comply with the stated requirements. For example, the appropriate action to take when someone who is stopped by base police fails to immediately notify the officer they have a firearm in the vehicle as required by the policy. We expect to implement the 628 ABW/CC weapons transport policy by the first quarter of 2019.

7. Is it possible to utilize funds to expand or build a new gymnasium to support the personnel and units on the installation?

We are keenly aware that the fitness facilities on the NWS are undersized given the population they serve. There has been a MILCON project for a new fitness center on the NWS for about 12 years. However, the fiscal reality is the likelihood of this project being funded anytime soon is low. We do have several projects we’re working at both Sam’s Gym and the Eastside Fitness Center to expand the fitness centers at both locations, which will expand the size of both facilities. Even these projects take time and it may be several years until they are funded and completed. In the meantime, we are looking at the possibility to fund off-base memberships for service members at the NWS so that they can adequately achieve their fitness needs. Bottom line, expanding fitness access and capacity at the NWS is a high priority for our Force Support Squadron team. The AB Fitness Center has undergone several recent renovations including the addition of state of the art equipment such as Assault Bikes, Resistance Tanks, Rowers, Cross Fit Rig, weights and new flooring, as well as the addition of the Beaver Fit Package (for outside functional workouts). This work included flooring and the rig itself. Likewise the expansion of workout areas was accomplished by transforming a basketball court into a functional fitness room. We have renovated the men’s shower and sauna and have upgraded our cardiovascular equipment by adding 12 new treadmills, 8 elliptical machines and over 20 bikes.

8. Since the expansion of Red Bank Road is up to the state and is taking awhile, can we look at building a bypass lane to the gate by moving the fence back on the ordinance side and turning that road into a new route?

We looked at this a couple years ago but it was cost prohibitive. Our MILCON priority for Red Bank Road is to secure it with a new perimeter fence, which is currently the #11 AMC MILCON. However, the Navy also is working a MILCON for a new Entry Control Facility for NNPTC and NHC,C which should significantly help alleviate the traffic problems at this intersection. MILCON projects are approved by Congress, so neither project has achieved high enough priority to get in the Future (5 yr) Year Defense Plan (FYDP) at present.

9. What are the MILCON projects slated for FY19?

We are currently designing a new Crash Rescue Fire Station to replace the undersized and failing flightline fire station.

MDG:

1. How is suicide prevention handled throughout the DOD? Not just Air Force or Navy. What are the differences and similarities in programs?

Along with civilian partners, the DOD has conducted extensive research on suicide prevention. The consensus is that programs that use a population health model (i.e., programs that involve the entire installation population, not just medical or helping agencies) are associated with lower suicide rates. Establishing a tight community (what AF would call “wingman culture”) where service members actively support one another is associated with lower suicide rates. Based on that research, the programs are fairly similar across the services. All services employ multi-pronged approaches with emphasis on education/training, command involvement, peer support and mental health outreach/treatment, with each service using different terminology for similar concepts. The overall mission is to create resilient DOD service members and families, which can thrive in the face of adversity.

2. Will it ever be possible to expand the MDG to include services such as OB?

Given MDG/NHCC facility limitations, the limited number of AD obstetricians, L&D nurses, and techs in the Air Force, as well as the requirement to utilize civilian healthcare facilities for L&D services, it is unlikely Defense Health Agency would arrive at a favorable business case analysis to support addition of obstetrics.

3. Would it be possible to have a mental health on-call doctor for after-hours care instead of using emergency services downtown?

Per AFI 44-172, Para 2.20, on-call Mental Health Providers provide consultation to command after established duty hours (0730-1630). After-hours mental health assessments can only be conducted in EDs or Urgent Care Clinics (UCC) due to safety issues and to ensure quality care. Because 628 MDG does not have an ED or UCC, we must utilize our community partners for after-hours mental health care.

4. How are we going to improve our mental health care on base?

Taking care of the mental health of our airmen is a team effort and requires coordination between command, helping agencies, wingmen and our MDG mental health staff. In the MDG, we offer behavioral healthcare in our primary care clinic (BHOP) in addition to the variety of services offered through our outpatient Mental Health Clinic. If you have a suggestion or a concern, you’re welcome to contact MSgt Jennifer Mueller, our Mental Health Clinic Patient Advocate, at (843) 963-6523. We’re happy to address any concerns you might have.

WSA:

1. BRS CP? Good or bad move for retirement pay out after 20 years?

Blended Retirement System (BRS) Continuation Pay is a mid-career incentive for those Airmen who are enrolled in BRS and are on contract through 12 years of service. This incentive is in addition to any other retention – or career-field specific – bonuses. You must elect to receive BRS CP before starting your 12th year of service and you must be able to complete an additional 48-months of service or repay the whole of BRS CP. Whether it’s a good move when considering 20-years of military service is different for every individual, but the choice is yours. Airmen are strongly encouraged to consult with their Personal Financial Counselor before signing up for BRS CP. If you do not have a consultant, Financial Counselors are available at the Airman and Family Readiness Center and they can help build a BRS CP plan for you.

CAG:

1. How can we at the Squadron help get things signed faster at the Wing? (ie: decorations / staff packages / etc.)

Your Group and Squadron Commanders can schedule time with Col. Adams in person to handle quick signings. Before this happens, everyone (Squadron and Group Staffs) that must review the item needs to have reviewed it.

2. Can you share/post the Commander's Call slides/video?

We can share the slides! Email the CAG at 628abw.cag.org@us.af.mil to request a copy. For the video, keep an eye on Facebook and the base website as PA will post it.

3. When do you need musicians for Commander’s Calls?

Senior Airman Genise Brewton (628 CES) is the POC. Please email her if you are interested. Musicians will be utilized for upcoming Commander’s Calls and other possible events.

Command Chief:

1. What are your thoughts on giving a SNCO a stratification with not only a failed PT test, but also two months overdue during their rating period?

SNCOs should be maintaining standards. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s understandable, but people sitting on a failure or not maintaining standards by being overdue will not get my recommendation to the Commander for a stratification. (CMSgt Cole)

2. How is the base combating career stagnation caused by personnel getting “stuck” in Charleston for four or more years? 

At the wing level, we are not aware of career stagnation by Airmen being “stuck” at JBC. If members are affected by this, please go through your leadership and get this info to the Command Chief. I will work with AFPC Functional Managers to see what can be done to ensure fair and equitable procedures are given to all Airmen in reference to the PCS guidelines set by HAF. (CMSgt Cole)