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Commander's Action Line

Submissions are anonymous, and you will not receive a direct response. Once addressed by wing leadership, the response to your concern may be posted below, pending subject matter.

Contact Public Affairs for a direct response. 

Recent Submissions

Fitness Center Town Hall Summary

The 319th Force Support Squadron fitness center team extends a thank you everyone who came to the fitness center town hall and submitted questions to make our community better. Below is an update on the questions that were submitted.

Question 1: Is there an intent to replace the run-down kettle bells in the gym next to the court? They are all flaking. I would like to see dumbbells in that room like the main weight room below the cardio area. I would also like to see more than 5 benches as there are very limited options to do free weights. I know space is limited, but there needs to be availability of dumbbell and bench equipment to more than 5 people at a time.

Answer 1: Each year the fitness center staff works with the Air Force Services Center to requisition replacements for equipment that is broken or has reached the end of its service life. The fitness center team has added kettle bells to our submission to replace the equipment that is damaged.

Our fitness center team continues to review the organization of each room to determine the most efficient use of space. While we cannot reorganize at this time, the Fitness Center team will continue to seek opportunities to make better use of the space. If you have ideas of how to make better use of the space, I encourage you to reach out to the Fitness Center NCOIC, Tech. Sgt. Robert Carter at 701-747-5324 or robert.carter.23@us.af.mil.

Question 2: We'd love to have family swim in the evenings. There isn't a ton to do once my husband comes home. The CAC and pool are not available for us as a family to enjoy. We love both facilities, but it would be great to have family time together at these facilities once my husband is off work!

Answer 2: The fitness center team is currently working on this problem. They are looking at options to allow the pool to be open longer hours for lap swimming and realign resources to allow for additional family swim time. We intend to make changes soon, so please keep a lookout for those updates.

In the interim, if you are looking for a location to take your family to enjoy time in the water, the community center in housing has an indoor splash pad available to base housing residents and outdoor playgrounds available to everyone with base access. The fitness center field house is also now open 24/7 for families to enjoy.

Additionally, the CAC now offers weekend sessions every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Your 319th Force Support Squadron leadership team is working with the Air Force Services Center to possibly open the CAC 24/7 through a waiver process. More information regarding 24-hour CAC access will be released as it’s available.

Question 3: Can we put nonslip mats in the locker room to the pool? It is very slippery, especially if you have multiple kids with you.

Answer 3: The safety of our Griffin team is of paramount importance to your leadership and Fitness Center teams. The FSS Outdoor Recreation team and Fitness Center staff are looking into purchasing mats for the pool locker rooms. Until we can get the mats and have them installed, I highly recommend you wear shower shoes to provide additional traction and prevent slips / falls.

Child Care Availability

Action Line Question: Our son has been going to the CDC for almost two years now. I retired less than 6 months ago and my husband is civil service. We just got told today our son is getting kicked out of the CDC because I have a very low preference and there are people on the wait list with higher preferences. I understand there is a wait list but I’ve never been told that they’re able to kick our child out of the center just to put another one all because I retired.

This is the second time that this has occurred to our child in the last couple of years. He was originally going to an in home daycare through the FCC. He was there about 4 months when we were given a 3 day notice of his termination. They stated that there was a child with disabilities that was going to attend and that he was no longer allowed there. When we asked about the 2 week notice in the FCC contract we were told by the FCC director that it was her fault and that our child could still go the following week with the child that had disabilities even though it was against the rules. We brought our son still because we had no other option and the environment ended up being hostile so I ended up taking vacation to watch my son.

We are extremely upset that this has occurred to us now twice with our son when he only has 7 months left until he goes to school. This is the type of environment that leads to mistrust and concern throughout the FCC and CDC.

Action Line Response: Thank you for bringing this important issue to my attention. Please know that quality childcare is one of or wing’s top priorities and supports our objective to “Develop Exceptional Leaders” and the FSS’s priority to “Care for Airmen.” It was with a heavy heart that our FSS teammates had to issue five notices to families who meet the priority criteria for supplanting.

I understand your frustration with the priority categories. Please know that those priorities are set at the Department of Defense level and are designed to support those members with the highest childcare needs. The highest priorities are for single Airmen and active duty military to military. When we reapplied the Department of Defense priority levels, there were five families (five children) whose priority dropped. Our Child and Youth staff exhausted all options to bring four families (five children) with higher priorities into the program without having to supplant any children. 

Our community, in Grand Forks and here on Grand Forks AFB, is struggling to meet the childcare needs within the local area. However, locally on GFAFB, our FSS Child and Youth Team continues to have success in recruiting premier talent. Effective 9 Jan 23, they were able to open an additional infant room and increase the number of children that can be accommodated in the school age program. We have also made some strides in recruiting new Family Child Care (FCC) providers and we expect to make an announcement in the near future. We also continue to bring on new staff with the intent that we will soon be able to open new CDC rooms.

Our CDC teammates take great pains to overcommunicate and provide our families with timely information. This includes where families are on the priority list and on the wait list for care.

We have taken steps to ensure what happened in your case with the FCC will not happen to other families. This case was unique in that the child who came into the household did have very specific needs that could not be met in either Grand Forks city childcare or in the CDC.

Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. We will continue to use every option we have to expand childcare support to all families on GFAFB.

Warrior Inn Closure - Reservation Cancellations 

Action Line Question: I made reservations to stay at the Warrior Inn for February 2023, the reservations were put in via phone in August of 2022. No one informed me the Warrior Inn is apparently now closed?

I called multiple numbers to try and verify the closure since the 319fss.com directory still shows the Warrior Inn listed as being open 8am - 4pm. The phone message on the Warrior Inn's phone also says they are still operating during these hours and makes it sound like they're still open.

A message needs to be put out and the 319fss.com needs to be updated to reflect this closure! Customers with reservations after the closure also should have been notified. I now have to try and find alternate lodging options. Had I not called I would've driven all the way to Grand Forks AFB to try and stay in a hotel that's not even open.

Action Line Response: I appreciate you taking the time to bring your concern to my attention. Unfortunately, we were notified by Headquarters’ Air Force in October 2022, that based on a business case analysis, the lodging operations were being divested at GFAFB. FSS leadership designated November 30, 2022 as the last day of occupancy. This allows the base to transfer the equipment and facilities efficiently from Non-Appropriated Funds to Appropriated Funds.

Upon notification of termination of lodging operations, our Lodging Staff e-mailed and/or called all patrons using the contact information they provided to notify them their reservations were cancelled. We apologize that you were not contacted, and I have asked our  staff to relook at all cancellations to ensure we have reached out and notified each client.

I want to thank you for mentioning the inaccurate information listed on our 319 FSS page. I have asked our FSS website team to correct this error as soon as possible.

Finally, if you are willing to provide you information to the 319 FSS leadership, they will investigate your specific case and provide you a response back as soon as possible. You can reach the FSS leadership team at 701-747-3463.

Child Development Center Payment Backlog

Action Line Question: Can the commander assist with the billing backlog issue with the CDC? Families have not been charged for the entire month of December despite being consistently reminded to provide updated payment information. The CDC’s response is that they don’t have the go ahead or program information from their contact at their headquarters who is overseeing the transition. They are saying they’re undergoing weekly ‘training’ on the new system, but not able to go live with it yet.

This is the worst time of year for this to occur being as it’s in the middle of holiday season and right after Christmas. As of now, my spouse and I will be charged approximately $750 at once for daycare, and we aren’t in the highest category. One missed payment is okay, two is frustrating, and three is unacceptable. As of now, we will be charged at least 4 payments at once if it is not resolved before the 15th of January. There is no end resolution date in sight according to the CDC.

Action Line Response: I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns regarding the changes in billing at the CDC. CDC’s AF-wide are migrating to a new centrally managed payment processing system. We know of only one individual at the AF Services Center who is able to initiate charges in the new system. They have committed to begin processing December payments no later than 31 December, and we've asked them to confirm they will meet this date. The CDC cannot resume processing charges using the old system, because it would result in duplicate charges - under the old system and the new. CDC leadership says all parents were notified this transition was coming and were encouraged to set aside funds as there might be a delay in processing charges, but it appears the delay will be no more than one month.

If you have any follow-on questions or concerns, please contact your Mission Support Group Commander, Col David Castor at 701-747-3389 or by email at david.castor@us.af.mil or your Force Support Squadron Director, Mr. Robert Hubbs at 701-747-5503 or via e-mail at robert.hubbs.1@us.af.mil.

Medical Group Closure During Exercise

Action Line Question: Why are we rescheduling appointments during exercises? Are medical appointments not considered a real-world priority? I arrived to the clinic 15 minutes early to be met with locked doors and no signs indicating a closure.

I received a call 2 minutes before my appointment time for a notice of a need to reschedule. How is this taking care of our Airmen? Some appointments can take weeks to be seen and some family members and Airmen come from off base to be seen. I also saw an elderly man, likely a Veteran, walking away from the locked doors back to his car (in 10-degree temperatures). A call 2 minutes before the appointment time just to be rescheduled is not professional at all.

Medical appointments need to be exempt from exercises. Airmen, family and veteran's health should be priority over an exercise. Clearly today, it was not and is becoming a trend with this base.

Action Line Response: 30 patient appointments were impacted by the Active Shooter exercise. WIT and the MDG Sq/CCs are evaluating and addressing root causes of preventable disruption in future exercises; some degree is expected due to the exercise.

Due to the nature of the exercise, neither the clinics nor appointment line were aware of the closure, and it was not communicated to patients who were inbound to the MTF.  During lockdown, patients could not hear the giant voice, and did not know why the clinic doors were closed.  The appointment clerks did not have clear direction for how to respond to patients who called them with questions, resulting in some patients being directed to come back to the still closed building, and others being rescheduled for another day. 

The squadron commanders have collaborated with the Chief of Medical staff, and in future events, have provided more clear direction to the appointment line. These plans include clinic staff, rather than the appointment line, calling patients to either work them into the same day schedule, or reschedule for a different day.  In rescheduling, the team will prioritize acute needs like mental health evaluations and pre/post deployment care over more routine needs, but will make every attempt to get patients back into the clinic the same or next day.  In this exercise, most mental health patients were seen the same or next business day, with one being rescheduled several days later.

From the WIT hotwash, WIT will work with the MDG to align larger exercises to the MDG training day, or to communicate the larger exercises in enough time for the MDG to move their training day to accommodate, and thus reduce disruption of patient care.  MDG WIT will coordinate to place information on the entry/exit doors so that patients are aware of an exercise, and the MDG procedures for working patients back into the schedule or rescheduling.

Fitness Center 24/7 Access/Long Weekend Closure

Action Line Question: With this being a four-day weekend, compounded with a snow day (making it a five-day weekend) how is it practical that the fitness center is closed with no 24-hour access for all of these days? 

Families and individuals in this isolated environment struggle. The fitness center is one of the few things that need to remain open. It is not only a fitness thing, but also a mental health thing. This facility is a life saver in freezing temperatures.

Moreover, why does FSS and the gym staff have more time off than anyone in the wing? How can the Force SUPPORT Squadron be closed for business for 6 days?. Please help the members of this wing who live on the installation maintain their sanity this winter. Please keep this facility open! 

Also, please do a true investigation on how many times an incident like this happens on long weekends. Look into why, more often than not, the 24 -hour access does not function on long weekends and “snow days.”   

Action Line Response: Thank you for voicing your concerns on the Commander's Action Line. I completely agree that physical fitness is a critical component of resilience, especially during our long winter. It is my full intent to make our Fitness Center available 24/7 for Airmen and families.

In not having a contingency plan to quickly re-open the Fitness Center, we failed to provide you the support you deserve. Should something like this happen again, I'm committed to ensuring we keep the Fitness Center open and available.

I know there may be concerns regarding Fitness Center access during the upcoming holidays - please visit the Fitness Center during staffed hours to ensure your 24-hour access is working properly.

RV Storage Security

Action Line Question: When will the gate at the RV storage facility be fixed? 

Action Line Response: Thanks for bringing this concern to my attention. Unfortunately, there is only 1 company in our area that works on these gates and they are headquartered out of Fargo. The FSS Outdoor Recreation Team has been working with the repair company since the issue was identified. The repair company has had issues getting the needed parts to repair the gate.

The good news is the parts are in and the repair company will be here in early Jan 2023 to repair the gate, assuming North Dakota does not vote with a snow storm to disrupt the repair team’s abilities.

Thank you again for reaching out with your concern and we are glad that we will soon have a resolution to the issue and return the RV Storage Lot to a proper security level.

New Commercial Gate Hours

Action Line Question: In regards to the recently released PA message about the change to the South Gate hours, what is the reason? Was the increased traffic flow that will flood the front gate considered in this decision?

A large portion of the base workforce uses the South Gate to expedite their access to west-side work centers and diverting them to the front gate (which already backs up down CR 3) will increase the traffic and time required to access the base during both the morning and afternoon commutes. When adding commercial traffic to that, especially in the morning before 0800 and the impending inclement weather in the fall/winter seasons, I can see significant delays being caused.

Having that gate open from the 0700-0800 and 1600-1700 period is a very nice option and will be sorely missed.

Action Line Response: Thank you for your question. We are empathetic to those inconvenienced by the change to the South Gate hours, but this was an operational decision.

Our primary driving factor behind the decision to shorten the gate hours is to make more effective use of our Security Forces manpower in executing our integrated defense plan. We conducted a study of non-commercial traffic from 25-29 April 2022 during the potential closure hours. The study showed that the main gate could handle the increased traffic flow with only minor impact to commute time/distance during peak traffic.

HPCON Status/COVID-19 Updates

Action Line Question: What HPCON are we in? Some facilities say Alpha, some say Bravo. Is the Grand Forks AFB Covid page up to date? Why are some offices in fulltime remote or hybrid status while others are not?.

Action Line Response: The 319th Reconnaissance Wing Covid page is continually updated to reflect the current HPCON. Covid-19 cases in the region are tracked, analyzed and compared with Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control guidance. Base leadership is briefed weekly on the local Covid rates, and Public Affairs updates the Grand Forks AFB Covid page.

If you see an outdated HPCON sign at a facility on base, please inform someone working there so the sign can be updated.

In accordance with the latest Department of Defense Force Health Protection guidance, published Aug. 29, 2022, installation commanders can take additional precautions for select personnel and medically vulnerable populations, including remote or hybrid duty statuses.

The enforcement of teleworking capabilities as stated within the HPCON Bravo notification is dictated as “mission needs,” and is no longer specifically required. Following updated CDC and FHP guidance, mask wear is not required in buildings on base as long as the community stays in Medium or Low Covid-19 levels. There is one notable exception to this policy – masks must be worn at all times inside any Military Treatment Facility.

CDC Hours and COVID Leave for Child Care

Action Line Question: Why does the CDC open at 0700? We have loads of single parents in the wing that are mission essential and are being punished because they cannot find childcare before 0700.

Also, certain mission essential commanders are informing subordinates that they must take leave if cannot find childcare. How is this taking care of our airman? How is it fair that senior NCOs and Officers are not required to do the same?

Finally, why are mission essential commanders making subordinates take leave if they cannot find childcare at short notice due to a positive case at the youth center? It is not our fault that the Youth Staff cannot follow Covid precautions.

Action Line Response: Thank you for raising your concerns regarding the availability of Child Care and the impact COVID positive cases are having on our Airmen.

The safety, stability and health of our families are always on the top of my mind and a focus area for your wing, group and squadron leadership. While our FSS has struggled with manning shortages in our Child and Youth Programs, an issue the Air Force has struggled with over the last 3 years, my intent is to develop and find new solutions. I have directed 319 FSS leadership to complete a childcare review, with the direct purpose of developing options to expand hours and increase availability. This review is due to me in early October.

In the meantime, I encourage Airmen and their families to reach out to our Child and Youth team at (701-747-5033 or 319FSS.FSY.YouthEducationSvs@us.af.mil) to determine available options for outside current CDC hours. For example, we do have Family Child Care providers who specifically provide care early in the morning and in the evenings.

There is some good news on the COVID front. The latest CDC guidance recommends a close contact of a COVID positive member to monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for 10 days, if the member is vaccinated. The new guidance no longer requires the member to isolate or quarantine for 5 days after exposure. This change will limit the impacts that one positive COVID case will have on Child and Youth Program’s need to close certain rooms to care.

Finally, my #1 priority is taking care of our Airmen. I expect all leaders in our Wing to have the same focus. Please communicate your issues with your chain of command to determine reasonable accommodation that will allow your unit and you to complete the mission while taking care of your families, reserving leave for extenuating circumstances.

Club Food Complaint

Action Line Question: Can the command have someone look into the food quality/cooking processes at the club. Specifically, based on multiple experiences, I have placed to-go orders for myself and the family just to get back home and notice the food is under-cooked (still raw in middle and border-line cold). Also the beef tastes terrible there but it could be because of it being under-cooked (Bowling Alley is the preferred location as it's much better food quality). Also the club pop machine's coke, diet-coke, and sprite taste a little off. I think not enough syrup is getting mixed-in but it could also be the water.

Action Line Response: First, thank you for your comment and bringing this to our attention.  Your feedback is vital to our success. We will take this as a learning experience, opportunity for improvement and are deeply sorry that you had a negative experience at our Club. This does not come anywhere near our standards of food quality.  Please, again, accept our sincere apologies.

We take our food quality, handling processes and temperatures very seriously.  Based on your feedback we will introduce additional proactive safeguards to prevent undercooked food with increased spot-inspections and temperature checks to ensure food safety and quality to our customers.

Additionally, we requested a Coke technician perform a service call on the soda fountain and validate proper operations and mixture ratios.  The technician performed the inspection on 12 Aug but was unable to determine a cause for the “Off” taste you experienced or an inconsistency with the mixture ratio of syrup, water, and CO2.  We will continue to monitor the fountain.

I understand this was an inconvenience to your family, we take our customer satisfaction and experience very seriously and will do everything we can to regain your trust

Individual with Base Access

Action Line Question: On behalf of many individuals, I seek the action of the gentleman who walks around the base with an ankle bracelet. Several (by several, I mean a lot) military members, spouses, and families have spotted him and continue to wonder why this is being allowed. Rumors will be rumors, but most of the base is aware of the offense as to why he has the ankle bracelet on. Thus, continue to wonder why an individual who committed an offense against the UCMJ and local law is allowed on base at all, let alone in facilities with women and children AND even during after-hours. Having this individual walk freely does not align with the Air Force's promise to ensure the safety of military members and their families. Regardless of the individual's status, appeal process, or prior service to the Air Force, he currently holds no benefits; therefore, leadership should be ensuring he is not allotted rights to the base and its facilities. Spouses, children, or active-duty members should not have to walk amongst the base feeling uncomfortable or in fear due to the presence of an individual who has committed such a severe crime. 
On a more serious note, a bill was introduced on behalf of this crime to protect spouses, yet GFAFB leadership is not protecting spouses by allowing this individual to walk freely on base. Because this bill was sent so high up in the Senate, I am surprised that leadership allows this person on base. I would hate to see the uncomfortableness, anger, and fear that spouses feel when seeing this individual on base be brought up to the same Senators who aim to protect us. Notifying Senate that GFAFB leadership is not doing their jobs to make families and military members feel safe may need to be done unless there is immediate change. I trust leadership makes a decision that reflects their care for their military members and their families to ensure we feel safe in our community, GFAFB facilities, and homes. V/R, A concerned military member, spouse, civilian, and many others living on GFAFB installation.

Action Line Response: Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about an airman continuing to access base facilities following both court-martial and civilian convictions.  I understand your concerns.  Please allow me to provide some additional information which helps explain why the airman continues to access base facilities and resources.

Following a conviction at court-martial where a punitive discharge (Dismissal, Dishonorable, or Bad Conduct Discharge) is adjudged, an airman remains on active duty while his or her conviction is reviewed on appeal.  After a sentence to confinement is completed, the airman is usually placed on appellate leave.  An airman on appellate leave remains an active duty member of the armed forces and is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  The airman receives no pay and allowances for time on appellate leave, but the airman and his or her dependents are entitled to medical care, use of military exchange facilities, commissaries, and other military welfare benefits.  After a conviction has been affirmed and appellate rights are exhausted, the punitive discharge is executed.  At that point, the member becomes a civilian and loses the benefits of an active duty service member.

I understand your discomfort at seeing an airman with an ankle monitoring device and prior convictions on base, but rest assured that I am not impeded from maintaining the health, safety, and good order and discipline of this installation.  If you witness or experience any misconduct, Security Forces and OSI are empowered to respond.  The airman remains subject to the UCMJ, and continuing base privileges may be curtailed for cause.  If you observe misconduct or are threatened by anyone on base, please call the 319th Security Forces Squadron Law Enforcement desk at 747-5351.


Mental Health Support

Action Line Question: With an understanding that there are limitations or restrictions from HAF/DoD/DHA, my answer may not be found at base level, however; I feel like it drives discussion.
When completing required IMR items, it's an annual requirement to complete a Physical Health Assessment (PHA) and Mental Health Assessment (MHA). With Comprehensive Airmen Readiness in mind, and an evolving cultural shift towards emphasizing mental and physical wellness, resources and treatment services are becoming more advertised, though not more readily available.
Similarly, there is an observed difference in mandated care between operational and support personnel. Operational personnel are often required to complete an annual in-person assessment, while support personnel complete an over-the-phone or computer-based questionnaire.
1.) Understanding the critical need for support, and being that the support fields generally outnumber the operational personnel, why is there a perceived greater emphasis placed on operations personnel than their support counterparts?
2.) What current efforts are being explored to increase capabilities at Grand Forks, to prevent appointments for mental health counseling being scheduled 3-4 weeks out, after an individual identifies a personal need?
3.) For those with potential ideas for resource/advocacy alternatives, or for those with a given interest in crisis management, what avenues would you recommend that individuals pursue to help design their ideas for potential leadership discussion/implementation?
Thank you.

Action Line Response: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter especially in light of recent events.  Please know that the health and safety of all of our Griffin Warriors is a prime concern of mine as well as our Medical Group and all wing leadership.  To address your specific concerns: 

1) The members that are required to have their PHA/MHA in-person are 2992 holders and have testing and examination requirements that most of our support members do not require; such as hearing testing, color vision testing, depth perception testing, and others that are driven by the needs of their career field; to ensure they are mission ready.  Where in-person examinations are required, the PHA/MHA are also accomplished in-person at the time of the examination and testing.  It should be noted that even in our support areas some members, such as fire fighters, maintenance workers, and other members who have routinely work with hazardous materials, have requirements for testing that other personnel do not.  Our Public Health and Bio-environmental teams evaluate each work center for hazardous exposures and determine what testing is required and at what frequency.  These evaluations are reassessed on a schedule appropriate for the level of risk of each work center.  Further testing and examination requirements for various 2992 holders are defined in AFI 48-123 and are updated on a periodic basis based upon evidence-based practices. 

2) We are actively working with 16AF, ACC, AFPC, and DHA to upgrade the GS positions that are vacant to attract candidates.  Recruitment and retention bonuses, etc. are being used to help in those efforts.  Additionally, new active duty MH positions have come onto the books and are in the process of getting fills.  Further, the medical group is working with Tricare to get more mental health providers to join the network.  Finally, the wing has requested more Military Family Life Consultant counsellors from ACC/AF to help bring the gap in need for our community.

3) Our agencies are very open to new ideas and as such always welcome discussion whether that be new advocacy alternatives, alternate resources, or training ideas.  There are a few different avenues for someone to get their ideas to leadership for potential implementation, but we’d recommend always starting with proper research first.  Evidence based practices and documented proven success rates help choose and promote programs while also helping us differentiate between awareness and prevention.  Running ideas by your Squadron Resiliency Trainer is a great way talk things over before bringing them to an agency.  Once you believe you have a strongly researched program or resource, you can reach out directly to the Community Support Coordinator (CSC) for more information on how to potentially get that program up and running while personally helping be part of its success!  In part because of our “No Wrong Door” policy, if the CSC believes your program or resources align more fully under FAP, SAPR, A&FR, VPI, or other agencies, you may be referred to discuss opportunities with those specific program managers.  Additionally, you could bring your ideas to the Community Action Team (CAT) meetings.  During this monthly meeting, a diverse group of agencies meet to discuss various issues across base and how to collaborate effectively while working to solve them.  The CAT is always open to new ideas and again you can contact the CSC for meeting time/date/location details.   

Finally, I encourage every Airman to work on comprehensive fitness and resilience by focusing on all the pillars of our life to include physical fitness, faith, mental health, and balancing work and family life as best as possible. Shoulder to Shoulder.


PCS Inquiry 

Action Line Question: I know someone who would like to, and has been trying, to PCS to this base. This person has never heard a word, and the request through Air Force Personnel is about to expire. Anything else this person can do?

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you to taking the time to bring your concern to my attention. It is difficult to give a specific answer to assist the individual your reference in your question without additional details. However, I asked our Force Support Squadron to research your concern. 

If Airmen has a pending request for reassignment and is concerned with processing timelines there are multiple options to check the status of a request.  The member may submit a ticket to the Air Force Personnel Center via myPers to inquire about the status, leverage their chain of command to contact the Airmen’s respective Functional Assignment Manager for assistance, or contact their local Military Personnel Flight (MPF) for assistance. 

Additionally, I highly encourage the member to reach out to their leadership chain, specifically their squadron’s First Sergeant for assistance. Our First Sergeants are the main focal point for assisting Airmen who have reached a block in the road that they cannot navigate and will go above and beyond to help. 

I hope this helps your friend. We are always looking for more talented Airmen to help take the 319th Reconnaissance Wing to new levels and to prepare for the future fight to defend our nation.


CDC Closure Due to COVID

Action Line Question: I have a minor(s) affected by the Covid-19 exposure/closure announced on Wed, Jan 12, 2022. I received an email at work with the CDC notice and within a short amount of time myself/spouse had obtained the minor(s) in care from the facility. While at the facility the front office quickly printed us the notice to take home in fear we may have missed the email since our pickup was prompt. When we went into classroom(s) to obtain minor(s) the instructor(s) had not yet even been notified of the exposures and asked me(us) who?, to which we did not know but their supervision/center had already sent notification to the parents without informing their instructors and we had to reiterate that they request clarification and hopefully we would receive notice of rooms affected. 

I am extremely disappointed in the manner in which this was handled and the protocol for return. Not only were we not notified if minor(s) were in affected rooms by CDC. But there should have been and be contact tracing by Public Health to the CDC. All teachers/instructors and facility members should be tested and confirmed negative on Monday before they can even assess if they are re-opening. Then, the affected rooms and the parents of children within those rooms should be contacted by public health that they were close contact, and then they should go get tested. And/or if the minor(s) are symptomatic then they should also, again, go get tested. 

For families who are unaware if their minor(s) were in a room with direct contact/exposure, who were unaffected, and who continue to be asymptomatic, we not only do not meet current CDC protocol but to require mass testing on Monday morning for the entire population of the CDC is not only improper but it wastes the states already limited resources. Furthermore, there is no direction if the negative test results needs to be rapid test(which is not as accurate) or the 24 hour+ test(which is more accurate) but with mass testing is going to take a longer period than 24 hours to return a group that large. Let alone any other testing they may be conducting within the Grand Forks and surrounding communities. 

To go a step further forcing minor(s) especially, to get an aggressive test when they do not meet the current guidelines to get that test or to be forced to do so to return to paid services is unethical and can create negative medical associations unnecessarily. Also, forcing non exposed families who weren't properly contact traced and asymptomatic kids to go into a large state testing facility and stand in a line/building of those affected and symptomatic just furthers exposure. Please provide proper contact tracing based off instructors/facility members tests, and then notify rooms/families affected and provide clarification on required negative test type required. We would also like clarification on length of reimbursement families will be receiving and for what period of time. Would like to know if they will be reimbursed if the CDC re-opens but state testing results are delayed. 

Also, we have requested more enforced masking policies (which should be required in federal buildings still anyways) as we have seen a large lack of masking within the CDC (at least amongst some of the older classrooms)(even though we are all sick of masking, we are sick of shut downs too). It would be nice if this was increased more. I think there are people who are happy to comply and/or get their children tested but not unnecessarily and are very unhappy with the directives/guidance given this past week. Thank you.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you to taking the time to bring your concern to my attention. I would like to start by stating that the health, welfare and safety of all of our wing’s Airmen and their families is a top priority. COVID-19 continues to be a dynamic environment with the emergence of new strains and the ever changing guidance and recommendations.

Our Child Development Center Staff and Public Health professionals are in constant contact with each other to ensure the safest and healthiest environment possible for our children. There was a positive COVID-19 staff member in every room of the Child Development Center. The Child Development Center Staff and leadership team immediately began contact tracing with Public Health and it was determined that closing for 1 day (20 Jan 22) and having the children tested on Monday, 24 Jan 22, was the best option.

Parents were contacted immediately after this decision was made. The Child Development Center Staff decided to use the normal pick up time vice having families immediately come to pick up their children. This decision was made to give parents and wing leadership the maximum amount of time to make arrangements for child care due to the closure.

Throughout the weekend the Child Development Center Staff continued to provide updates to parents via the e-mail they provided at registration. Once a decision was made to open the Child Development Center in a limited capacity, each parent were called directly to notify them of the availability of care and their status. I am extremely proud of how our Child Development Center Staff and our families, you, have handled this situation and it is a testament to the flexibility and resiliency of all involved.

I would like to wrap up by reminding everyone that the safety of all of our Airman is in our hands. If you or your child are not feeling well, please stay home and coordinate with your leadership and/or supervisory chain. Only together can we reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses and help our nation and our base return to a new normal free of this pandemic.

Once again, I thank you for bringing me your concern and I highly encourage you to bring any future concerns to my attention as well. For the Child Development Center, please keep in mind you may first bring any future concerns to the Child and Youth Program Flight Leaders.


CDC Closure Due to Weather

Action Line Question: Are we getting reimbursement for the Child Development Center closure on 5 January 2022, when the rest of the base was open and working? We pay good money for the care and closing without an official base closure is absurd.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you to taking the time to bring your concern to my attention. I would like to start by stating that the health, welfare and safety of all of our wing’s Airmen and their families is a top priority. With that in mind and the visibility created by the storm, we decided to reduce the Child Development Center’s operations to storm essential personnel and children only. 

Each family is provided with a CDC Parent Agreement when they first enroll their children for care. Parents are required to sign and initial the contract within the Parent Agreement. One of the elements reads: “There will be no credit or refunds given for illness, inclement weather, emergency closing, and federal holidays or days parents choose not to bring their child to the program.” Based on the circumstances and the CDC Parent Agreement, we will not be able to reimburse families for the closure of the CDC due to the storm. This is a similar policy to many local civilian childcare facilities as well.

Once again, I thank you for bringing me your concern and I highly encourage you to bring any future concerns to my attention as well. For the CDC, please keep in mind you may first bring any future concerns to the Child and Youth Program Flight Leaders or to the Child Development Center Director.


Base Winter Road Safety

Action Line Question: The roads on base are not safe. The contractors are not doing their job and removing ice from the roads. If safety for your active duty and dependents and all the civilians that work on our base, then something needs to change. There have already been staff falls at the end group and parents falling in the CDC parking lot. No matter how many contracts there are, nothing should come between keeping your people safe. There needs to be salt on the roads. It’s only the first weekend of snow and people are sliding across intersections. I am afraid to drive to and from work. I am afraid to walk my child into the CDC. Please do something about this.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your question.  Our Civil Engineering Squadron manages contractors that provide most of our base snow and ice removal.  Additionally, the Force Support Squadron provides support w/in 50’ of the CDC building itself.  Snow and ice removal is challenging.  Our Airmen, civilians, contractors and dependents safety is extremely important to us.  If you have ideas of how to efficiently remove ice and snow hazards please contact our CES.  The team does their best every year to ensure your safety; but we actively seek better ways to mitigate these threats.


COVID Vaccination Numbers

Action Line Question: Why doesn't the base and DOD report covid vaccination numbers to local state public health? Our local numbers in the county may be better than reported.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your question.  We share this information with Grand Forks Public Health weekly.  Wing and Medical Group Commanders, have a weekly Institutional partners meeting which includes GF Public Health.


Main Gate Missile

Action Line Question: Are you going to fix the missile at the front gate?

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your question on the status of our Air Park at the front gate.  The entrance to our installation is one of the more impressive in the Air Force and we take great pride in its presentation while ensuring that the Air Park is safe for our occupants and visitors.  The falling of the top-half of our Minuteman III display is unfortunate and will likely take some time to repair.  Our Grand Forks AFB airmen, while highly trained in the repair of aircraft structures, are not versed in the repairs required to bring this piece of history back to a state worthy of display at our entrance.  The systems on display at our gate are on loan to us from the United States Air Force Museum.  We are coordinating with them on how and where to conduct the repair.  We will likely ship the missile to a United States Air Force Museum facility to facilitate the repair in a safe and accurate manner.  Although undetermined at this time, the timeline could take a year or more to complete.  In the meantime, our airmen are ensuring the remaining portion of the Minuteman III is safe and secure to prevent additional damage while we await the repair.


Leadership Concern

Action Line Question: As a 2nd generation military member, retired USAF/Disabled VET, w/a son now serving making him a 3rd generation military member, as a result of how he was treated today by the leadership of his unit CC I must now say I’m disgusted to be associated with “today’s” military & disregard for seeking the truth & instead being SO quick to blame/punish someone without even conducting at least a minuscule amount of background research. Not to mention not allowing the member to even speak in their defense. Couple that w/being personally attacked verbally & being degraded by using disparaging terms along with cursing the individual while making threats is despicable, degrading of morale, labeling, shameful, & cab be perceived as harassment. Furthermore it’s disgusting that leadership has turned a blind eye & deaf ear to complaints made up the chain to include the IG & no action has been taken against a certain member of this unit that makes life hell for everyone he encounters but because he’s upper management he’s “protected”; part of the “ good ‘Ol boy network” apparently. If anyone cares to contact me regarding this matter please…do so but I do not expect a response simply because I feel that’s the physical makeup apparently of leadership at GFAFB.
V/r,
Disgruntled Parent of an ADAF GFAFB member

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your service and for raising a son who is willing to serve as well.  As far as the incident you described, I am very limited in my response since I do not know who your son is nor any timeline or context of the interaction with his Squadron Commander.  But as a retired Airman, you know that your son has a few options to address his concerns.  One option is to use his chain of command.  If the individual he is having a problem with is in his chain of command (which it appears is the case), then he can take the issue one level higher.  I consulted with our Mission Support Group Commander and he was not contacted by your son.  Other options available to your son include the Inspector General (IG), the Equal Opportunity (EO) office, or to engage with your local Congressional leadership.   


Golf Course Expansion

Action Line Question: #savethegolfcourse Open the Plainsview Golf Course to the Public... Lets move the base perimeter fence so its between the first/second hole and Alert Road, then cut it south to the current fence 100 yards to the west of the 3rd hole. Then change the driveway to come off the Contractor Gate at Hi-way 2. This bit of work would open the course to the public with out having to access GFAFB, and it would be a short drive for the base populous. Even moving the Driving range to the west side of the course between it and Grand Sky could be phase 2 of this project. Now is the time to get estimates for the work and labor. End of year Funds are coming, and now is the time to plan for next years spending. If it would help, look at Rough Rider golf course for Minot AFB. That course is set up just as described above and dose very well compared to the numbers at Plainsview Golf Course over the past few years.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your well thought-out suggestion on how to increase access to Plainsview Golf Course while taking into account our Force Protection requirements.  Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs are of great importance to our base community and I have asked FSS leadership to take a comprehensive re-look at their MWR portfolio so we can best posture to meet the needs of our Airmen and their families.

Unfortunately, sustaining the Plainsview Golf Course has been a considerable struggle for many years.  Our FSS, MSG, and Wing leadership have worked diligently to solve a myriad of challenges, but fiscal and manning realities mean that we are unable to provide proper maintenance on the course.  While we consider the long-term future of the Plainsview Golf Course, we have opened the course for free play.  So while the experience is not as good as other local courses, we hope the price makes up for it!

Your proposed course of action to place a fence around the course and open it to the public has been assessed multiple times, and most recently in 2018.  We found that the project would cost approximately $1 million.  We do not think this project would be fiscally responsible given our current limited budget and the high importance of other competing projects.  But the good news is there are seven (7) other golf courses within 25 miles of the base so there are plenty of opportunities for our base and local community to hit the links.

Again, thank you for your inputs.  I encourage you to continue providing ideas on how we can make Grand Forks AFB a better place to live and work.


ATV/UTV Operation on Base

Action Line Question: Has GFAFB looked at allowing the base populous to drive registered recreational vehicles on base? The state of North Dakota Allows all ATVs and UTVs to be operated on gravel roads. All resisted ATV's and UTV's can be operated on paved roads with a speed limit of 65MPH or less. There are several bases that also allow operation of ATV's and UTVs on their streets. We see SFS and contractors utilizing ATV's and UTV's every day.

Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for asking the question and allowing us the opportunity to clarify the rules regarding ATVs and UTVs.  Per Grand Forks AFB Instruction (GFAFBI) 31-218, riders can operate privately owned Off Highway/Road Vehicles (OHV) on base as long as they adhere to North Dakota Century Codes 39-24 and 39-29 regarding registration, licensing, safety education courses and equipment.  

However, operation of those vehicles are limited to: 1) the most direct route from their residence to main gate off the installation or 2) the most direct route to refuel at the Shoppette and back to the residence or off the installation.  There is an exception for contractors who are allowed on the roadways in the course of their duties as long as they are compliant with ND Century Code.  An excerpt of the applicable section of GFAFBI 31-218 is included below.

4.2.3.1. (ADDED) Off Highway/Road Vehicles (OHV) are motor vehicles owned, leased, rented or controlled by non-DoD Component entities or individuals primarily designed for off highway use and capable of cross-country travel on land, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain. Examples of OHVs are Side-by-Side, a Recreational Utility Vehicle (RUV), Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), snowmobiles, construction-tracked vehicles, forklifts, road graders, and agricultural-type wheeled tractors.

4.2.3.1.1. (ADDED) OHVs will comply with North Dakota Century Code 39-24 and 39-29 in regards to registration, licensing, safety education courses and equipment. This information can be found at http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t39.html.

4.2.3.1.2. (ADDED) OHVs will not be operated on the roadways within GFAFB property except to take the most direct route from their residence to main gate off the installation or, the most direct route to refuel at the Shoppette and back to the residence or off the installation. EXCEPTION: Contractors are allowed on roadways in the course of their duties as long as they are compliant with ND Century Code.


Shopette Operating Hours

Action Line Question: When is the shopette going to open on Sundays again? We're in HPCON Alpha

Wing Leadership Response: The Express closure on Sundays was not due to the HPCON level.  One of the hardest hit areas for the Exchange during the pandemic has been fuel sales.  In order to offset the losses from fuel sales operating hours were reviewed at the Express. The results showed that on Sundays 97% of sales came from unattended fueling and only 3% from retail sales which does not warrant manning the facility on Sundays. AAFES is reviewing the current data as things open up and will work smartly to move facilities back to pre-COVID operating hours.

 

COMMANDER'S ACTION LINE INPUTS AND UPDATES

Notes from the Top