ACTION LINE QUESTION # 39: Spouse Inquiry
Why is my husband not allowed to perform as an EMT in the fire department when he is certified as one?
Wing Leadership Response: Great question and one that’s come up in other forums. The quick answer to your question is because the Air Force has a specific paramedic career field whose primary duty is to function as emergency responders. The Air Force has specific schools and training to maintain certifications of these paramedics. We have a work center within our Medical Treatment Facility that performs these duties for our installation.
In very unique circumstances, installation commanders can request a waiver to allow firefighters to perform EMT duties, but the approval authority for these waivers reside with the commander of Air Combat Command with concurrence and recommendations from the Command Surgeon General and A7.
At this time, I do not feel there is a need to allow our firefighters to perform EMT duties on Grand Forks AFB.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #40: Inquiry – Commissary
Can we increase the hours of the sandwich shop at the deli counter in the commissary as another food option? Additionally is there a way to ensure enough supplies, sides, condiments, etc. are on hand? It seems they are frequently running out. Love the sandwiches made there, just hoping supplies and hours can increase.
Wing Leadership Response: In speaking with our Commissary General Manager, Ms. Lori Looney, the Chief and I learned that the deli manager has been pretty short handed up until a few weeks ago, but has now been allowed to hire another person. With this additional person, she will be able to have more sandwiches/salads available in the grab-and-go case when there is no one in the deli. Another option would be to call or email a sandwich order prior to 6 p.m., and that sandwich can be made for early morning or after closing pick up.
Referencing the supplies/sides/condiments comment, Ms. Looney mentioned that the deli manager, Tammy, appreciated the feedback and will now ensure they keep a closer eye on the supply level, but, should they be out, please ask them at the counter, and they will take care of you.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #41: Inquiry – Motorists Stoppage
Is there a way to better train our defenders on base policies that change often; more specifically, motorcycle safety? As a Motorcycle Safety Representative, I have to know AFI 91-207 (The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program) in and out. I have been contacted numerous times about riders being stopped at the gate for personal protective equipment (PPE) "violations" when considering retro-reflective/brightly colored outer garments. I have been stopped for the same "violation" and now carry a copy of the AFI in my bike to show the base defenders when questioned. With the installation not having a supplement, the items referenced are merely encouraged, not required. Any help with this is greatly appreciated.
Wing Leadership Response: Thanks for the suggestion of adding a supplement to the AFI regarding personal protective equipment. While the addition of a supplement is a way to address this it also adds a layer of tracking and updating for records management. Bottom line … there may be a better way.
The Chief and I will work with Security Forces to determine the best way to assess your concern and find a good way ahead.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #42: Suggestion – Deploying with Weapons
I have a suggestion to modify the current Installation Deployment Plan to allow deploying members who are deploying with a weapon to be authorized to transport that weapon(s) from the LRS armory to the airport in their POV. Currently, it states that the member's UDM must transport the weapon for the member in a GOV from the vault to the point of embarkation. This does not make sense. The member has already been trained on that weapon. There is no ammo with the weapon, and it is cased and locked. The weapon poses no threat to anyone without ammo. As well, once the member departs the installation, that same weapon that had to be transported in a GOV, may go into civilian aircraft, off base hotels, taxis, shuttles, etc. We ensure members are lawfully allowed to be issued a weapon prior to weapons qualification. It seems our attitude towards firearms is extremely liberal, considering we are members of the Armed Forces. If it is an accountability issue, then that argument doesn't stand up either. The other items that deployers are issued do not have to be transported in a GOV, i.e. gas mask, battle rattle, etc. Those items are serially controlled and we rely on the professionalism and integrity of the member to properly transport, maintain and return all gear to LRS upon return from any deployment.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for the great suggestion! I can relate to your perspective. We entrust our Airman with safe and responsible handling and accountability of their weapons and mobility gear during much of their deployment travels. The 319th Mission Support Group and my legal team in JA are researching your suggestion. We want to ensure we fully understand all the legal aspects (federal, state & local laws, DoD Instructions, AFIs, etc.). Moreover, I want to understand the rationale behind our current concept of operations. Following this exhaustive review, the MSG commander will make a recommendation to me on the best way ahead. Stay tuned, more to follow...
ACTION LINE QUESTION #43: Suggestion – Four-Way vs Two-Way Stops
Suggest that all four-way stops on base is it possible to make them into two-way stops. There are many studies showing that this is actually safer and obviously better for traffic.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your question. We have a process through the Traffic Safety Coordination Group that looked at this issue previously. When a traffic concern is brought forward, the TSCG analyzes the situation, looking at factors such number and type of accidents, road conditions, signage, speed limits, sidewalk configuration, obstructions, impact to pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow, and traffic citations issued. Two of our four-way stop intersections are located in the community area where we have a high level of pedestrian traffic. A third four-way stop is at the intersection of our two busiest roads (Steen Boulevard and Eielson Street). Even though four-way stops at these three intersections are less efficient for traffic flow than two-way stops, their presence increases safety and reduces the risk of vehicular and pedestrian accidents.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #44: Suggestion – Clinic Hours
Suggest the medical clinic closes for training/holidays on Thursdays/Tuesdays versus Fridays/Mondays. The issue numerous patients are experiencing is extended periods without care when symptoms don't warrant an ER visit but are still painful.
Wing Leadership Response: Taking Care of our patients is the 319th Medical Group’s #1 priority. We continuously strive to provide timely access to care through services provided at the MDG. When clinic is closed and a patient has a medical condition or question, the Nurse Advice Line is available to provide medical advice and authorization for care at a medical facility near the patient. The Nurse Advice Line and the partnership with the downtown medical facility give patients access to urgent care 24/7. The number for the Nurse Advice Line is 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), Option 1.
As a side note, the MDG has training days on Friday since, historically, it is our lowest utilized day of the week for patient care.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #45: Team GF Kudos
My name is Mark Sebald. I'm a retired E-8 with the U.S. Coast Guard. I was up in Grand Forks this past weekend for a wedding and had never been here before. I initially had a reservation at the Warrior Inn, but at the last minute changed it because I thought it would be a bit more convenient to stay in town. Given that, my wife and I made a trip out to have a look at your base to blow some time away. We live in Texas and have been around the U.S. A LOT and stayed at a lot of AF bases before. I can honestly say yours is the nicest we've ever seen! Everything was meticulous and well kept. Housing was spectacular, exchange was more than adequate, we saw storage facilities a small RV park etc. EVERYTHING was great! It's obvious people take great pride at you base and I'm also glad you make it nice for the folks who have to work and live there. Being from MN originally, I know how your winters are and I'm sure some people would look at your base as a bad place to be stationed however; I'll tell you, as an Aviation person myself, I'd have loved to have been stationed out there winter or not! Keep up the good work and Kudo's to ALL........
Wing Leadership Response: Great feedback from a retired Coast Guard E-8! With that said, it doesn’t surprise me. The WotN military/civilian/contractor team does a fantastic maintaining this base up to our “Warrior Standard.” As Chief Thomas and I often state, there is no place we’d rather be than Grand Forks AFB. It is truly a gem!
ACTION LINE QUESTION #46: Inquiry – DEOCS Surveys
Security Forces conducted a mandatory DEOCS in the fall of 2017, yet the results of that assessment were never released publicly because the results were reportedly unflattering to several senior leaders in the unit. As such, no changes were made and those identified as being toxic to the unit were left to continue being toxic. What's the point of doing these assessments if identified problems will be ignored or glossed over? Why does a leader's potential embarrassment trump the effective management of a unit?
Wing Leadership Response: Per DEOCS implementing instructions, your squadron commander is required to brief you (and his/her group commander) on the results of the DEOCS. The full reports are rarely “publicly released.” As someone who’s read many DEOCS reports, individual inputs in the anonymous comments can be more than just unflattering; they can also be unprofessional and, at times, unfair to those called out by name. Also, it could be possible for Airmen to identify those making anonymous comments simply by the nature of the comments themselves - above all, we want to protect the anonymous nature of these comments. With that said, it’s incumbent upon commanders to give a thorough review of their respective DEOCS … the good, the bad, and the ugly … to the Airmen of their squadrons. Transparency is key along with corrective action plans to address issues highlighted by the survey. DEOCS are a great way for squadron commanders to get at problems within their respective units in addition to building credibility with those they lead.
As it relates to your question regarding SFS, Maj. Rislin informed me DEOCS results were given in full to SFS senior leaders and then briefed to the squadron during commanders calls held on 9 & 11 January 18. If you think the leadership team overlooked an issue that you feel needs to be addressed, I encourage you to bring it to the attention of your chain of command, first sergeant, Chief Murray, or Maj. Rislin. I know they’d be interested in your feedback.
ACTION LINE QUESTION #47: Suggestion – JR Rocker’s Food Delivery
I have a suggestion for JR Rocker's - Food Delivery. This base has a lack of food options, particularly on the weekends and evenings. When my family and I arrived here, the only option available was Domino's, despite being in billeting and directly across the street from the club (which was closed that day). While the introduction of Little Bangkok and Erbert's and Gerbert's in the BX are good lunch options, people looking for breakfast or late-night options are kind of stuck unless they want to make their way to the dining facility. My idea is for JR Rocker's to begin offering food delivery. The first step would be to create a web site or even an app for people to view the menu, place their order, and pay for their food. If the person uses a smartphone, the app could be geared to deliver directly to the phone's location, which makes it simpler if the person is at work. Alternately, the website could also be specifically configured for PCs and/or mobile devices; whatever would make viewing, ordering, and paying simpler for the customer. An option is to require online payment of every order prior to delivery instead of requiring a delivery person to deal in cash. This app or website would be connected to a Point of Sale system located in the kitchen. Upon the order coming in and verification of payment, the food would be prepared and then handed to a delivery person who would take it to the customer. The benefits of this is that JR Rocker's would only need to keep the kitchen open for this service, reducing the cost of having to bring in additional staff or even open the dining room. Obviously, delivery personnel would have to be hired, and I suspect that those positions may be the largest sticking point.
Wing Leadership Response: This is obviously a well-thought out suggestion, and I thank you for taking the time to submit it. We’re in a time of significant transition when it comes to food offerings on the base. The DFAC Food 2.0 upgrade will open up the DFAC to all base personnel this summer. Also, on June 7, Hunt Brothers Pizza in the Express will come on line. Additionally, as of a few weeks ago, you can go to the Commissary and order sushi! I firmly believe we need to get through this transition, stabilize the array of food offerings on the base, assess what the demand signal looks like across a 24-hour spectrum, and then determine if we think a delivery option from Rockers could be successful.
Of note, Burger King has been opening up at 6 a.m. for breakfast for the past five months for those looking for another breakfast option.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Suggestion – Tennis/Basketball Court Nets
Is there a way we can get a net purchased/placed on the tennis court adjacent to the dorms across from the fitness center? There's a plethora of basketball courts around the base already (gym/ housing) but no tennis courts with a net currently. With all the fitness center updates (Alpha Warrior, Rock Wall, etc.) can we please designate a small amount in comparison I'm sure, to place a net/include tennis in the list of intermural sports and maintain?
Wing Leadership Response: In short….ABSOLUTELY! Thanks for bringing this to our attention as we were unaware that we had tennis courts on the base that were in disrepair or unusable. I’ve asked my FSS leadership team to go and see how many other of our outdoor recreation facilities may need improvements and immediately begin to fix them.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Inquiry – Personally Owned Drones
Would it be possible to fly remote control quadcopters on base in a designated area given that a member was FAA part 107 certificated, and obtained all necessary tower approvals within FAA guidance?
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your inquiry into this. We’ve received many other inquiries through different social media forums inquiring about the ability to fly personally procured small UAS on the installation. The short answer is that, currently, we have Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration restrictions which does not allow for the flight of small UAS on base. Additionally, that also includes government procured small UAS that we may want to fly here on base for official government purposes. There is some relief in sight though. In February 2018, we received notice that DoD is looking to begin implementing guidance that would allow us, for official government functions, to operate small UAS on base. At this time, this would still not allow for personal use of privately procured small UAS like quadcopters.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Inquiry - Cavalier
How are Commanders at GFAFB working to improve the communication between GFAFB and Cavalier AFS? I have seen a few GSU members having difficulty reaching the right office or even in receiving a response to questions from GFAFB units. While I have seen squadrons assist by providing the option of over the phone briefings rather than driving a three hour round trip, the real concern comes from not being aware of the support they are providing to CAFS
Wing Leadership Response: First, I am sorry to hear that you’ve been having such difficulty communicating with the base. In the short term, if the numbers to the organizations you are trying to reach are not correct on our Grand Forks AFB public webpage…
I’d encourage you to call the installation Command Post at 701-747-6711 and, if all else fails, call Chief Thomas at 701-747-4511.
The Chief and I have worked hard with Lt Col Hobbs to ensure that our Cavalier teammates are properly supported. This has included multiple trips by the Chief and I to Cavalier over the past 11 months in addition to fantastic Cavalier participation in wing events at GFAFB. Additionally, last year I mandated that my Sq/CCs visit Cavalier so as to better understand the support we provide you. We also encouraged Grand Forks civic leaders to visit Cavalier--they did and enjoyed learning about your unique mission set. Finally, the Chief and I brought the ACC/FM leadership team up there 2 weeks ago. We’re also scheduled to bring the leaders from ACC/A1 and ACC/A4S up there this summer. While the 10 SWS and Cavalier AFS are owned by AF Space Command, the staff at ACC is also interested in how ACC can better support your mission!
If you have specific concerns you’d like us to address at GFAFB, please pass them to Lt Col Hobbs who can engage the Chief and I so that we can provide you world-class support!
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Complaint – Speeding and Cell Phone Usage
I have a growing concern for this entire base. SPEEDING and Cell Phone usage. This concern is not directed at Security Forces. I applaud SF for what they do day in and day out. I am a SNCO and I see this multiple times every day. Speeding on J St, I St, and Louisiana St. I have confronted 7 people now who have been speeding. Two were going over 40MPH on I St and even running the stop sign on Redwood/I St. Others have been speeding on J St going by the Youth Center and CDC/ I know their speed because of the digital readouts on I St. I am turning into the bad guy for trying to get people to obey the rules on this base. Of the 7 people I have confronted 2 of them were SF people. I have even seen a patrol car going way faster than 20 on I St. When I ask them why they were speeding I would get because I am late, I don't feel good, they would just say I do not have an excuse, my favorite is I did not know what the speed limit was. I have called a couple of first shirts to express my disappointment in their troops speeding. The worst offenders I have noticed live on Dogwood and Beech. The only time people are doing the speed limit are when they see a patrol car sitting in one of the normal spots along J St. and they slow down. We should either raise the speed limit to 30 or pick up on patrols and actually start giving tickets. It is just a matter of time before someone is hit because of speeding or people using their phone. Regardless, the rules on base are there to be followed. People have forgotten about Integrity. Maybe SF can start using different vehicles such as a bus like downtown to crackdown on speeding and phone usage. Or give a radar gun to a walking patrol with a radio. I know the SF guys are smart and can come up with ways to combat speeding and cell phone usage. It could be perceived that SF members might not be enforcing these rules on fellow defenders and or friends. My main concern here is to not point fingers at SF, but to simply get the population on GFAFB to slow down and stay off the phone to keep our kids safe.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for bringing this to our attention--it’s a huge help! Over the 11 months that the Command Chief and I have been here we’ve received numerous inquiries and feedback on speed limits, specifically on the speed limits for I street, Aspen, and Redwood due to the fact that there are no longer any homes back there yet the speed limit remained 20 mph. In April, I approved a speed limit change in these areas, establishing a new speed limit of 30 mph. For J Street, we are in discussions with the MSG and Security Forces on the best way to curtail speeding in the areas around the CDC and Youth Center. We’re also looking for creative ways to attack “distracted driving” brought about by cell phone usage while driving. Finally, I applaud you taking initiative to address these issues; however, I ask that you refrain from personally stopping individuals you believe to be violating the law. I would encourage you, as a SNCO, to get their vehicle information (license plate, make/model, vehicle color, alleged infraction, etc.) and pass this along to Security Forces. Stopping or confronting individuals for alleged wrongdoing should be left to trained Security Forces personnel.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query – Assignment Notification
Can you please address the fact that Commanders are failing to notify individuals of assignments within 7 days as the new process requires. I understand this requirement came from big AF but commanders are either too busy or it slips through the cracks and it degrades the integrity of the process.
Wing Leadership Response: First, I’d like to assure you that the Command Chief and I (and all our Commanders on the base) are equally frustrated. At this time, I can tell you that this is definitely NOT an issue with unit Commanders not carrying out their duties to notify in advance. The Air Force has recently come out with formal guidance, admitting that while the idea of advance 7-day assignment notifications were the right thing to do for Airmen, we failed to realize that our current suite of AFPC applications didn’t allow for it. Based on your feedback and that of others around the Air Force, the AFPC Commander, MGen Brian Kelly, released the following statement to Wing Commanders and Command Chiefs: “Finally, I wanted to let you know we have provided your FSS team with new tools to help automate the work they perform as part of the advanced assignment notification process. When we implemented this new process back in January, we knew it required additional work by your FSS to ensure timely advanced notification to Commanders. Unfortunately we did not have tools available at that time to assist your FSS teams, but have now remedied that shortfall.”
Now that we have these tools within our FSS, we are working on the training required to implement them and comply the CSAF vision of the 7-day advance assignment notification.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Complaint - CS
Multiple inputs by and about the Comm Squadron.
Wing Leadership Response: In late March/early April, there were multiple inputs by and about the Comm Squadron. Some centered on the long hours they were working, and others centered on lack of timely support for routine trouble tickets. Here’s the story. Since last Fall, we’ve been preparing for the Command Cyber Readiness Inspection (CCRI)--we briefed it at my last Commander’s Call. This inspection is planned and executed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). It’s a rigorous 2-week inspection that evaluates our cyber readiness--specifically, our ability to maintain and defend our networks. There was much work to be done. Consequently, many of our Comm Airmen went to 12-hours shifts and weekend duty in order to ensure GFAFB met (and exceeded!) the DISA standard for cyber readiness. It was a long 6-month journey. Given the workload generated by this prep, some of Comm’s customer response times for non-critical tasks may have suffered. However, it was done for the right reasons and was a course of action I fully supported.
The CCRI is over and the Warriors of the North crushed it, receiving an “Excellent” in both NIPR and SIPR—a rare feat! Of the 17 inspections done in FY17 and FY 18, we had the second-highest NIPR and third-highest SIPR score. If you remove the scores of bases who were re-testing after a failure, we had the best NIPR and second-best SIPR score.
This was a huge accomplishment by the entire installation, especially our Comm Airmen who work so hard to ensure our networks are secure. We should all be proud of these results. Moving forward, I expect the battle rhythm will return to something like normal in Comm Sq and on the base.
Thanks for your patience and mission focus!
ACTION LINE QUESTION: General Question - Outprocessing
Is it possible for you to address the out-processing checklist? Multiple agencies on base require you to send them a copy of your orders even if you have no affiliation with that agency. It seems there has to be a way for the agencies to verify who has utilized them and can clear them that way. With the amount of PII vulnerabilities it just seems that sending orders isn't necessary.
Wing Leadership Response: You’re not the first Airmen to lodge this complaint. As someone who has outprocessed 4 AF bases in the past 5 years, this is a process that frustrates me as well. I determined if I ever became a Wg/CC, I would do something about it. With that said, I have directed a wing-wide continuous process improvement (CPI) event that will look at our outprocessing. Everything is on the table! Chief Thomas will champion the effort and I plan to start it this month.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: General Question – Speed Limits
The speed limit on J street should be changed to 30mph on J street between Spruce Dr. and New Jersey street? There are no houses or parks near the road in-between the two roads and 20 mph makes it a miserable drive from the beginning of J street all the way to the back.
Wing Leadership Response: This particular stretch of road has been brought to our attention, and we agree with your frustration! As part of our Housing Privatization agreement, BBC has responsibility for the section of J Street from Maxwell Ave (i.e. near the Youth Center) until it flows into Louisiana St. This includes the section of road you referred to. We recently asked BBC to consider raising the speed limit for this portion of J Street, and they are currently reviewing our request. On a related note, you may have seen in a recent Public Affairs announcement and in your travels around Housing that we increased speed limits from 20 to 30 mph on roads in the areas for which we have responsibility: I‐Street from 7th Avenue to Aspen; Aspen from I Street to J Street; and Redwood from I-Street to J-Street. We continue to look for opportunities like this that make sense while maintaining safe traffic flow.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Complaint – Road Conditions
At every event, you challenge us in some manner. I challenge the two of you to drive down J street and count the number of bumps, potholes, cracked roads etc. I understand that these are natural speed limit enforcers but it is ridiculous that we have dodge these things to maintain our cars daily to and from work. Please and thank you! #ICHALLENGEYOU
Wing Leadership Response: I sympathize with your concerns. As the Wg/CC, I too live on the base and drive on J street, sometimes multiple times per day. As the weather improves, you will see teams from CE out doing spot repairs. In fact, we recently filled a large pothole on J Street…I believe this is the main one you refer to that required some “dodging.” However, filling pot holes only makes the condition of the roads marginally-to-moderately better. When a road on base reaches a point where it’s no longer feasible to simply do spot repairs, we’ll plan a resurfacing. With that said, resurfacing base roads costs money and our resources are not unlimited. Our Civil Engineer Squadron has multiple resurfacing projects planned. We’re currently working a plan for a complete replacement of J Street in the next 2-3 years. I just reviewed these projects within the last month. Should we receive the necessary resources, we will be ready to execute! Until we can resurface some of these roads, our Civil Engineering team will work to make them as serviceable as possible.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Leave
In the leave web it says we derive our authority from: 10 U.S.C., Chapter 40; 37 U.S.C., Chapter 9; EO 9397, November 1943 which was approved for the following " (j)(1) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, a member of the armed forces described in subsection (i)(2) who is the secondary caregiver in the case of the birth of a child or the adoption of a child is allowed up to 21 days of leave to be used in connection with such birth or adoption." We get our authority from this U.S.C. which was approved, shouldn't this be active guidance within our Air Force? If not what is the process or procedures until this is activated in the AFI or DoD. And, in reading the U.S.C. it does say allow and not mandate. But does the approving CC have authority or an option if they so choose, to allow up to 21 days. Lastly do you have an idea of the possible approval date timeframe to take effect, if this is not approved in the Air Force already?
Wing Leadership Response: Air Force leave policy (AFI 36-3003) receives its authority from DoDI 1327.06 Leave and Liberty Procedures and 10 USC, Section 701. Specifically, 10 USC 701 states that leave not expressly authorized by law cannot be granted. The current policy on parental leave providing 10 days of leave is what was authorized by Congress and by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), therefore the AF cannot simply change the paternity leave policy as we see fit to give a member more than what is authorized.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed on 23 December 2016, changed maternity, parental and adoption leave statues in 10 USC 701. In the new statute, the Secretary of Defense was directed to prescribe regulations providing a new primary and secondary caregiver leave benefit that takes the place of existing maternity, parental and adoption leave. Since the signing of the 2017 NDAA, HAF/A1 has been involved in a working group with the multiple agencies from the Secretary of the Air Force staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and the other Services to work through the many policy and legal issues associated with developing policy that is fair and equitable for our members while complying with federal law. In September 2017, OSD staffed a draft policy for General Officer level coordination on the Military Family Leave Program (MFLP) which would implement the 2017 NDAA. Once OSD finalizes and publishes their MFLP policy, the Air Force will then be able to modify what leave is authorized in AFI 36-3003.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Toxic Leadership
You once said that supervisors should say thank you once in a while. Yet I have seen no proof of this. From the moment I come into work I feel as if I'm constantly messing up because my supervisors both laugh and sneer at my back. On multiple occasions I have been told that my shop chief tells other shops of my "stupidity". From the moment I walked out of the airport from my very first day here I felt as if I didn’t belong. I know that it sounds as if it's just another first term airman wanting attention and feeling "offended" but I guarantee it's not. I just feel like there should be more accountability for leadership at a shop level. My supervisors don’t follow the core values, yet they expect me to. Maybe leading by example doesn’t exist in the military anymore. Maybe it's just my shop, I can't go anywhere else because even though I've used my chain of command without skipping anyone I don’t want the repercussions that I know will follow. Help please?
Wing Leadership Response: First, I encourage you to continue using your chain of command. It’s typically the most efficient and effective way to resolve issues. If it’s your opinion that the chain of command, to date, has been unresponsive, I strongly encourage you to keep moving up the chain. While not always easy, you have the right to escalate your issues to leaders higher up the chain without fear of repercussions. As a matter of fact, if you believe your supervisors are creating a hostile work environment, I would argue its incumbent upon you to highlight this issue to someone who can adequately address the situation. I know this takes courage; however, rooting out toxic leaders (should they exist) typically requires one brave Airman to step forward. If you’re not comfortable moving step-by-step up the chain, I would encourage you to go directly to your First Sergeant or Squadron Commander who, I guarantee, would hear you out and address your situation. Should you not feel comfortable with anyone in your chain, you ALWAYS and at ANY TIME have access to the Wing Inspector General (747-4444). They stand ready to provide advice and assistance. I hope this helps. Bottom line…there is no place for toxic leadership in our AF. Where it exists, we will take necessary action to root it out.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Medical Care
Hello! I was hoping to submit a topic for the next commander’s Facebook live video addressing questions.
We have been at this base for about a year now, and have had issues with misdiagnosis several times by the military doctors on base. At our last location, we were able to choose if we wanted to have a military pcm or civilian while having Tricare prime. After these cases of being misdiagnosed by our military pcm for myself and our daughter, I contacted Tricare to request a change in pcm’s and to ask to be assigned to a civilian doctor. Unfortunately, they said that our base has a rule that all Tricare prime beneficiaries must be seen on base, unless we ask for a waiver which is very hard to come by and are only given upon special circumstances. I was hoping that our base commander might consider changing that rule so that we are able to be seen by a civilian pcm while having prime?
Wing Leadership Response: TRICARE Prime requires all beneficiaries within 30 minutes of the MTF be assigned to a PCM at that facility. At current time, the 319th Medical Group (319 MDG) has capacity for all Prime beneficiaries. Thus, beneficiaries that select TRICARE Prime and live within 30 minutes of the 319 MDG must enroll in our clinic. Some MTFs do not have enough PCM capacity to meet the local Prime beneficiary need. In that case, beneficiaries are allowed to enroll to civilian PCMs. Non-active duty beneficiaries wishing for flexibility to be seen by a civilian primary care may enroll in TRICARE Select (recently changed from TRICARE Standard). TRICARE Select beneficiaries have access only to space available care at the MTF; however, they may use the MTF pharmacy and immunization clinic. To change your enrollment or for questions regarding enrollment options, please contact Health Net (TRICARE West Region Contractor) at 1-800-866-9378.
The 319 MDG is deeply invested in providing quality medical care to our patients. If you have concerns about the quality of care you are receiving, we want to know. Each clinic has a Patient Advocate who can address any issues or concerns and elevate it to the proper level. Please ask the respective clinic front desk to speak to the Patient Advocate. For issues not able to be resolved at the clinic level, the Medical Group Patient Advocates are MSgt Cordell Roberson and 1st Lt Inara Santora. They can be reached at 747-2124 and 747-4687 respectively. If you feel issues are not resolved or receive proper attention, contact the Chief of the Medical Staff, Maj Aaron Goodrich, at 747-5544.
If you would like to change your PCM, you can do so by contacting the TRICARE Operations flight (Cindy Arnold) at 747-5585.
Additionally, we are continually working to provide our patient’s timely access to care. Our goal is to provide as much of your care as possible within our facility to ensure continuity of your care. We realize there are times when we are not open and you may need care sooner than we can provide. In these cases the TRICARE Nurse Advise Line (1-800-TRICARE (874-2273)) is available 24/7 to answer medical questions and help guide you to the most appropriate care. As of 1 January 2018, TRICARE Prime other than active duty can be seen at Urgent Care without the need for a referral. Active Duty members continue to require a referral to be seen at Urgent Care.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: CDC/Family Days
I received the survey for the CDC and I have a question, Is the reason headquarters is giving us a Family Day for us to spend time with our family or to drop the kids off and have a "me" day? I understand the need for childcare for mission essential parents whose spouse or significant other may also have to work, but not for those that choose just not to spend time with their family. I hear people complain about deployments, TDYs, etc taking away time from their family, but then when given a free day off of work to be with their family they choose not to. Maybe they could swap babysitting with their neighbor.
Wing Leadership Response: Thanks for asking your question and taking the time to lay out some concerns you have. The Command Chief also received and took the survey as he has young children in both the CDC and Youth Center. I believe it’s important for you and all our Airmen and Families to know that we have not made a formal decision on this topic yet. The Mission Support Group and our Force Support Squadron as still reviewing the survey data to provide me a recommendation on this topic.
We are committed to providing predictable childcare for those Airmen who cannot take part in the ACC Family Day and must work due to military necessity. While babysitters could be an option for some, we realize that the Airmen utilizing the CDC and Youth Center have built trust with the professionals who watch their children and may not wish to seek out separate child care.
Expect that a decision will be made well before the next ACC Family Day on 25 May.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Physical Fitness Test
For those of us who do PT tests in the wintertime, it can be very difficult to do the running portion on the inside track due to the proximity to the heaters and the dryness in the air. Is there any way this could be mitigated somehow to make it less dry? Also, I've heard that the running track was also originally incorrectly measured on the innermost line of the track (instead of the middle of the innermost lane), which resulted in an extra half lap being required on our PT tests instead of the regular 15. Is this true, and if so, is there any way this could be fixed to be more accurate?
Wing Leadership Response: First, given that I run the indoor track at least once per week, I, too, am aware of how dry the air can be in that part of our Fitness Center. While I don’t have an answer to this portion of your question, I will ask.
As to the second part of your question, I’d like to take a minute to elaborate.
When I arrived, I confirmed the indoor track was measured in accordance with AF guidance. Specifically, we were directed to use measurement instructions from NCAA Track and Field standards. These regulations mandate the track “shall be measured 30 centimeters (11.8 in) outward from the inner edge of the track.” Shortly after my arrival, my Executive Officer provided me some research compiled by SSgt Biersner, 319 MDSS. SSgt Biersner studied the NCAA guidance along with the uniqueness of our indoor track at GFAFB. His conclusions were as follows:
• Proximity of the metal safety rail prevents testers from running on intended course
• Inability to run on intended course unfairly increases overall distance for testers
• Sharp curved courses have effects that reduce sustained velocity and increase lap times
I personally went to the indoor track and validated that the metal safety rail is truly an obstruction that makes maintaining a distance of 30 cm (11.8 in) from the inner edge of the track while running the test extremely difficult, if not impossible. In his presentation, SSgt Biersner provided the following recommendation:
• Proposed measurement be at least 70 cm (27.9 in) away from innermost curb
• Proposed measurement for walk be 50 cm (19.7 in) away from innermost curb
Chief Geary (FSS) then worked with AF/A1 in the Pentagon to determine if I had the authority to implement the above recommendations. AF/A1 confirmed that, as the Wg/CC, I did have the authority to deviate from NCAA standards to accommodate for the unique layout of our indoor track. On 31 Aug 17, I approved the above recommendations for implementation on the GFAFB indoor track. On 11 Sep 17, I signed the official memorandum and the track was re-measured within a few weeks, essentially shortening the existing 1.5-mile run by approx. one-quarter of a lap.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Global Hawk flyovers
An idea came to me while attending the CGO lunch with you and Chief today. BTW, I really enjoyed the lunch and how much it shows that the two of care for us. Anyways, back to my idea... I didn't feel comfortable sharing it in front of everyone because I don't know the rules and regulations behind it. But, have you considered having the Global Hawk fly over base more often to make it more visible. I've been here four years and have seen it in the air three times. My kids don't even know what it is. In fact, we took our Christmas picture next to one last year and they asked me what it was. I think it would help your initiative to build the identity if we saw it more. Maybe summer bash or when everyone leaves/comes to work or other peak times of the day when more people are outside.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for your question. First, Col Spencer and I are encouraged and excited that you and your family took advantage of taking a photo late last year in front of the RQ-4 Global Hawk. We are continuing to find creative ways to connect our Airmen, Civilians, Families, and the local community to the Global Hawk mission. Most recently, the Commander changed the monthly base Newcomer’s Briefing/Orientation to include a tour of a Global Hawk for our newly assigned personnel as well as offered it up to our Spouses to attend too if they so choose to.
Unfortunately at this time and due to high Global ops tempos, you may not be able to see routine take offs and landings here at Grand Forks of the Global Hawk. Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of our missions here in support of world-wide operations, we cannot make public the aircraft flying schedule.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: 24-hour access to locker rooms/showers at fitness center
Why does a 24-hr gym not have 24-hr access to the locker rooms/shower facilities? There is zero incentive for shift workers to utilize the facility if they cannot shower after a workout and report to/go back to work.
Wing Leadership Response: The primary reason is safety on several different levels and to be honest, your questions and some recent events have led the Commander and I to take a holistic look at our Fitness Center operations. In full disclosure, the rationale that we currently use to keep the locker room closed after hours could also apply to the entire Fitness Center.
While it has been mentioned that member’s utilizing the locker room after hours could potentially slip and fall causing injury, the Commander and I both believe that there is an equally high chance that someone would be injured weightlifting or running on the track.
Without a “manned” presence in the Fitness Center during the late night/early morning hours, this is causing the Commander and I to take a really deep look into how we are managing risk in the Fitness Center after hours. The FSS is currently updating the Deliberate Risk Assessment Worksheet for Fitness Center operations. It is due to me 1 March. After reviewing this product, we’ll make decisions about what our next steps will be in the Fitness Center
We really appreciate your perspective and feedback in bringing this up.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Veterinary Services on base
Sir, I have recently PCS'd here from Hurlburt Field and my family and I will be living in Larimore due to the inflated home cost in grand forks. My question and or suggestion is concerning the on base Veterinarian service that was once offered on base approximately three years ago, according to security forces just next to the vet facility. Is there any way to find funding for this? A copay system to offset the cost? Or local fund raising? People on base have pets and also people in the surrounding areas, I believe it would benefit the troops and give a better piece of mind to know these services were close by in case of a pet emergency.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for sending in your question and welcome to Grand Forks! Most people assigned to Grand Forks likely don’t know that the Commander and I both brought pets here from Davis-Monthan and completely understand your question and concerns.
Upon arrival and during our SFS immersion of the Military Working Dog program, we were briefed that the closest Army Veterinarian resides at Minot AFB and that we have an agreement with Minot by which we get vet services from that Army vet.
As you likely are aware, at most bases/installations, the Army Veterinarian primary role on base is to care for our Military Working Dogs. They do often see non-military animals on a Space Available basis.
At this time there is no current plan for the Army to place a vet here. The Commander and I both have used some of the off base vets here for our animals and there are some great local vets that I’m sure can care for your pets.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Card payments accepted at DFAC or ATM available in DFAC
Would it be possible to have the DFAC accept card payments instead of cash only? If that is not possible, could an ATM be placed in the DFAC to allow easier access to cash?
Wing Leadership Response: As we prepare to transition our Dining Facility to the Air Force Mandated Food Transformation 2.0 program, the acceptance of credit and debit cards is one of the improvements that many bases tout as a “win” for patrons of the DFAC.
I will absolutely look into the option of an ATM being placed in the Dining Facility.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Early release/delayed reporting procedures
What criteria is used by to determine if/when an early release or delayed reporting is authorized for base personnel due to weather and do first line supervisors have the support from Wing Leadership to make case-by-case calls for their members?
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for sending in your question. The process for determining early release and delayed reporting starts with the Weather Flight. They provide weather conditions and potential hazardous conditions to base leaders. Security Forces provides an assessment of base roads along with an in-person assessment of Route 2. Finally, CE engages the Grand Forks School District and ND Dept of Transportation. The School District’s decision always plays heavily into our decision calculus.
If it’s an overnight snow event, the Commander has a telecon with MDG, MSG, CE, SFS, OSS, and PA at 0500 during which the MSG/CC provides him a closure recommendation. He will then either concur or non-concur. That decision is communicated to the Command Post who updates the Snow Line and PA updates Facebook. This process is typically competed NLT 0530.
If the snow event happens during days/swings, we execute the same process as above in as timely a manner as possible. Based on recent feedback, we’re now updating the Snow Line and Facebook page before days, swings, and mids to ensure our Warriors of the North on all shifts have the latest information.
Keep in mind, the Commander is using very top-level data from multiple sources to make this decision. If the Commander decides to keep the base open or not delay reporting and roads are unsafe in the area you reside, you should call your supervisor and the two of you need to make a decision about your travel to work that puts safety first.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: ND DOT travel advisories VS reporting instructions
I watched your FB live on 7 Dec. One question for next FB Live. Can you please expand on the late reporting? If the ND DOT says no travel advised, why is the base putting people on the road. Why not make it late report for off base personnel, and all on base personnel report at normal duty hours. It’s much safer to travel when there is light, then trying to navigate through bad roads when it’s dark.
Wing Leadership Response: The travel advisory does not mean the roads are closed. Keep in mind, ND DOT typically doesn’t re-evaluate the roads until 0400-0500 so the information we get from them about road conditions early in the morning may take some time to update on the web site. Also, if Grand Forks School District doesn’t delay the schools and determines the roads are safe enough to put school busses on them (which has happened this year), then that will weigh heavily into my decision.
Bottom line…We take multiple pieces of data into account when crafting a decision and we do so with the safety of our Airmen paramount in my decision calculus. No single piece of data, like ND DOT’s “No Travel Advised” is the determining factor in my decision.
As the Commander has stated before, he’s using very top-level data from multiple sources to make this decision. If I decide to keep the base open or not delay reporting and roads are unsafe in the area you reside, you should call your supervisor and the two of you need to make a decision about your travel to work that puts safety first.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Civilian locker use in fitness center
Has there been any progress in allowing civilians access to their own locker at the base gym? I know this is not just a base policy, but couldn't the Wing Commander waive this policy?
Wing Leadership Response: The Commander and I have heard this question before. First, from the research we’ve done, we see nothing in AFIs that prohibits AF civilians from using personal use lockers. This appears to have been a base policy. HOWEVER, during that research, we discovered AFI strictly PROHIBITS personal use lockers at our Fitness Centers for ANYONE. In order to designate lockers for personal use, the Commander has submitted a waiver package to ACC and the Air Staff for approval. That waiver left the wing a month ago. Should I receive approval on the waiver, both our military and civil servants will have access to lockers.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Eliminating/reducing additional duties
Do you know when the memo dated 18 Aug 2016, Subject: Reducing Additional Duties, will be implemented?
Wing Leadership Response: Back in early November of last year, the Commander and I took a deep look into how we as a Wing were doing with the compliance of the aforementioned MFR on Reducing or Eliminating Additional Duties from the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff.
Between the two categories of, Reducing or Eliminating, we developed a scorecard by each Squadron on base and found that there were a total of 18 Additional Duties that were identified as either eliminated or reduced. We as a Wing have been able to comply with the elimination or reduction of 10 of those Additional Duties.
The remaining 8 duties cannot currently be complied with due to either DoD direction or By-Law requirements that will require Headquarters Air Force or even Department of Defense level engagement. I’ve provided our Wing’s feedback to 25th Air Force and Air Combat Command who in turn is providing to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Force distribution/stratification transparency
Why are stratification and force distribution boards so secretive? Wouldn't it make sense to tell all Airmen what the senior leaders value? Many Airmen receive great feedback from their supervisors but don't understand why they didn't receive the rating they thought they had a chance of getting. The supervisors don’t always understand why either. Success shouldn't be a secret. Could our wing make a list of the top 5 or 10 things boards value? By telling all Airmen what we value we should produce more outstanding Airmen.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for the suggestion, but at this time the Commander and I do not have an interest in putting together such a list at the Wing Level.
So here’s the “why”….
With the exception of the Senior Rater Enlisted Force Distribution Panel, all Large Units earn their own promotion allocations of the Top 2 promotion recommendations, Promote Now and Must Promote. As such, each Squadron Commander is free, without influence from Wing or Group leadership, to develop procedures that work for their own Squadron’s EFD. Each Squadron and the functional communities they represent all have different things, performance based, that they know weigh heavier and thus it’s important for supervisors within those squadrons to provide the feedback that you mentioned above.
As a young SSgt, a piece of feedback I received still sticks with me today and I share this with all Airmen. MSgt Keith Pervall shared with me back in 2002 that feedback is a two-way street and that as an Airmen it’s a shared responsibility between the Supervisor and his/her troop. His specific guidance was to always, ‘Fight for Feedback” and I encourage all of our Airmen to do the same. I continue to speak with our Chief, Senior Master Sergeants and Master Sergeants about the importance and value of providing timely feedback to Airmen and Civilians and I wholeheartedly agree that “Success Should Not Be a Secret” as you stated above. In my opinion, the individuals best postured in most organizations to deliver great feedback resides within the work centers, flights and squadrons.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Suggestion: LED lights on base to indicate road conditions
The base should implement some form of electronic (LED) signs at all of the intersections on base that show yellow green or red.
Wing Leadership Response: I appreciate your concern with safety. It is important for all to know that the Commander eliminated the red/yellow/green road condition reporting for base roads. Why? There was no deliberate process or rigorous analysis behind it. Simply put, it was a judgement call that could vary depending on the individuals/leaders making the call. It also drove a considerable amount of administrative work. Instead, I now leave it to drivers to individually assess road conditions and drive accordingly. This is essentially the decision process our off-base personnel utilize. We plan to notify base personnel of deteriorating conditions when necessary, but each driver is ultimately the best judge of his/her ability to drive in certain weather conditions.
In closing, the Commander and I trust you to use good Risk Management to make the right decisions for you and your families.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Relocate WAPS testing away from laundry
As promotion testing times are upon us, the base testing facility is connected to the base laundry facilities. When you walk in the bldg. the room for testing is to your right which shares a wall with the washers and dryers. This causes a huge distraction when people are doing laundry while you are taking a very important test, as the machines as well as the people sing them are very loud at times. Is it possible to move testing to the other end of the bldg. or change the testing location?
Wing Leadership Response: First….I am so glad you brought this up for us to look into. The Commander and I tell Airmen and Civilians while we are out roaming the base or during official functions that we fully understand that most assigned to the base “just assume” that we as a Wing Command team know about these kinds of issues on the installation.
The reality is we need people, like the anonymous person who typed this question, to please communicate as ask the question.
The FSS Superintendent, Chief Geary, and I will be taking a trip over to the WAPS testing center to “test” this out. If proven true, we’ll absolutely look to find both a short term and long term fix to this issue.
As promotion testing times are upon us, the base testing facility is connected to the base laundry facilities. When you walk in the bldg. the room for testing is to your right which shares a wall with the washers and dryers. This causes a huge distraction for the test takers when people are doing laundry, as the machines make a lot of noise and the people using them are very loud at times. Is it possible to move testing to the other end of the bldg. or change the testing location?
Wing Leadership Response: First, I am so glad you brought this up. The Commander and I tell our Airmen and civilians that we fully understand that most personnel assigned to the base just assume we know about these kinds of issues on the installation.
The reality is that we need people, like the anonymous person who typed this question, to bring these issues to our attention so we can get after them.
The FSS Superintendent, Chief Geary, and I will be taking a trip over to the WAPS testing center to test this out. If proven true, we’ll absolutely look to find both a short-term and long-term fix to this issue.
UPDATE: As mentioned above in our earlier reply, I did go out and do a “Myth Buster” style event with the FSS Superintendent, Chief Geary. We and the base Testing Control Officer (TCO), Ms. Marvel, ran through an entire series of experiments starting and stopping dryers, opening and closing doors, and talking at various levels.
What we discovered is that if there are a lot of people utilizing the laundromat, you can definitely hear the opening and closing of the doors, but you cannot hear them running in the WAPS testing room. Additionally, if people are talking at a normal volume you can hear them slightly.
We’ve decided to take the following mitigation steps to ensure we maintain as noise-free an environment as possible. First, we’ll post signs on the outside of the laundromat specifying WAPS testing times with a reminder that noise can be heard inside the testing facility and to try to keep noise to a minimum. Second, if that doesn’t work, we have the ability to send a “runner” outside of the testing center to remind patrons doing laundry that folks are inside testing.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Child Care on Down Days
The CDC is closed on Friday, 16 Feb, for an ACC down day. I called and asked if this wing has alternate care for individuals’ children since the mission doesn't stop. I was informed there is not a contingency available. They do have the option to call and coordinate care through home providers on base, but again, this is not a guarantee. Does the wing know this is standard ops for the CDC? If not, please intervene and provide some sort of avenue to ensure the individuals affected have a solid backup to their already established care. I know during storms there is a storm essential list that the CDC provides support for. Can we make the same type of plan for down days but have it pre-coordinated through the squadron commanders for verification on a case-by-case basis? I have seen this at other baes and it works quite well.
Wing Leadership Response: Great question. You’re correct…other installations have addressed this very issue. In response to this question, the Commander and I sat down with our Mission Support Group Commander and Superintendent and have decided to conduct some research in the near future.
For those who use the Youth Center and Child Care Center (as I do), within the coming month you will see a survey asking parents a few questions (i.e. Do you work Family Days?, etc.). We are hoping to gain enough data to determine if there’s a case to be made for offering Youth Center and CDC services on these days. Please participate in the survey. We’ll follow up with results.
The Commander and I are also aware that we only have two Family Child Care (FCC) in-home providers at this time. We have asked our Mission Support Group leadership to take a look at how we are marketing this program to see if we can increase those offering in-home FCC services.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Twining School Parking
Can you change the hours of no parking in front of Twining School to align with the hours that the school doors open? Currently the no parking hours start at 0730 however, the school does not open its doors until 0740. Earlier this winter, on 2 separate occasions, I was told by SFS that I couldn't be sitting in the lane while I waited for the doors to open. The first time it was 0735 and the second was 0733. On the second occasion I was told that if I was there again I would be ticketed. I watch many other people park there and they are never approached by SFS but they all drive much nicer vehicles than I do. My biggest complaint comes from this morning, I know it was "Pastries with Parents" this morning but that shouldn't change the fact that the sign says no parking. Due to mission requirements, I was not able to attend the event with my child and upon arrival at the school, I could not even drop my child off close to the door. There were many cars parked in the lane at 0745, SFS was on scene but doing nothing about it. SFS was right to have me move as I was waiting in a no parking zone during the times listed but their decisions to pick and choose when they will enforce the rules and with who is not right. Simply changing the time to 0740 will allow people to wait with their children on cold morning and leave the no parking zone on time without breaking the rules.
Wing Leadership Response: Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns on a situation that clearly bothered you and one that may have also impacted other parents of children who attend Twining Elementary.
The Commander and I--and our spouses--also drive our children to Twining each day and pick them up in the afternoon, so we are very familiar with the long lines you experience most days at Twining.
We will engage with the local Grand Forks District School Board who oversees nearly every facet of what transpires around the school--and roads adjacent to it--about the possibility modifying the “No Parking” restriction. More to follow!
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Transcripts from FB Live
The Facebook live videos are often difficult to stream from NIPR, and a transcript would help. I appreciate the efforts of the wing Commander and Chief to answer questions from the base personnel, and the transcript of the CAL has been useful. Can all of the Facebook live session transcripts be loaded to the "CAL Answers" on the GF AFB site? Thank you for your time.
Wing Leadership Response: Thanks for the positive comments surrounding our Facebook Live and Commander’s Action Line. One of the benefits of conducting a Facebook Live event is that once it’s complete you can view it from your home computer should you experience bandwidth issues on NIPRnet on your workplace computer. An additional benefit that not many on base are aware of is that we--or our Public Affairs section--go in after each Facebook Live event and answer all the questions that weren’t addressed during the live filming.
At this time, we do not see a compelling need to do a transcript of the Facebook Live. We’d ask that you attempt to view on your personal computer or phone as we suspect you’ll have much better results. We do appreciate the time you took to suggest it.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Implementation of DoD ID Number Locally
With the security risks of using SSN and the AF adopting the DoD ID number why have we not fully adopted this at GFAFB? i.e. clinic's phone verification process, or MPFs forms.
Wing Leadership Response: Great question and the short answer is that while we as an Air Force are absolutely moving forward with trying to incorporate utilizing the DoD ID versus SSN, many of our information systems still have not caught up. This is an Air Force-level enterprise issue that’s being worked via different functional communities.
What I expect to see (and from what I’ve been told) is that sometime within the next 5 to 10 years we will have moved away from using a SSN in nearly all applications or forms that we regularly use.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: BX Restructure
Suggest restructuring portions of the BX building as a "one stop shop" meeting place for shopping, eating and events. A laser tag or mini golf room could be built with a small party room for hosting of children's events. This increased foot traffic will likely boost number of customers to the barbershop, BX, food court. As it stands GFAFB is fragmented in its services and parents are less likely to use multiples of these separated services in one trip versus if it was in one building
Wing Leadership Response: Keep the suggestions coming!! What I can tell you is that next Thursday, 1 March, during my Facebook Live event, I’ll be partnering with the Northern Regional Vice President of Operations for AAFES out of Dallas-Fort Worth. We will be discussing changes across a wide range base AAFES services in the coming months. We’ve got significant improvements on the way!
If you haven’t taken the time to go to the Exchange and meet our new General Manager, Ms. Annette Montgomery, I’d encourage you to do so. Ms. Montgomery is fired up about her role as the GM and is very receptive to feedback from Airmen, Civilians, and family members from across the installation.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Traditions and Ceremonies
Please stop taking away the traditional ceremonies and celebrations and making everything lunch time events. Celebrations such as SNCO induction, Annual Awards, and ALS graduations are very important to capture and celebrate in a formal manner. For some, these ceremonies will be the only time they will be recognized. Some examples; ALS is the only remaining PME graduation, being nominated for an annual award of being "inducted" into a prestigious Tier group. Also, without these types of events what good is maintain a ceremonial uniform (service dress for if we don't have ceremonies because they are replaced with causal beer and sandwich's. This is why the AF has the least amount of history and heritage. #stoptakingawaytraditions
Wing Leadership Response: This is a great comment. It gives me and Chief Thomas the opportunity to give you some insight into our thinking on ceremonies. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this.
I think what endangers our traditions is a lack of flexibility…the inability to adjust to a changing force…the inability to make traditions relevant to a new generation of Airmen. Our traditions have been slowly changing for years and will continue to do so. If we become rigid in our approach, what do our traditions mean if fewer and fewer Airmen participate in them each year?
In our opinion, here are the headwinds that dampen participation in formal evening events:
· A changing world – Airmen who, at most, used to have a TV in their dorm rooms now have access to the world in these same rooms via the Internet with gaming consoles, cell phones, tablets, etc. It has become harder to entice these Airmen out of their rooms for evening functions. It’s understandable…
· Increased ops tempo – Many Airmen, to include the Chief and I, have spent literally years away from home over our careers. Consequently, when home, Airmen are reluctant to give up their personal family time to attend evening events—time they’d rather spend with family. Wouldn’t it be great to give some of this personal time back to these Airmen? On a side note: I will rarely schedule Friday or Saturday evening Wing formal events. I believe that to do so, I’m unfairly taking a Friday or Saturday night away from Airmen and their families.
· A changing demographic – A generation ago, many SNCOs and Field Grade Officers had high-school age children or were empty-nesters. That is no longer the case. The Chief and I are a perfect example of this trend. Many of these older Airmen also have young children at home and are also reluctant to give up evenings with their children.
· Conditions specific to Grand Forks
o Winter night driving can be tricky and temperatures dangerously low
o Airmen who live downtown require up to and hour-long round trip to the base to participate in an evening event. If they require a baby sitter, that’s money out of their pockets. I’m very sensitive to that.
Let’s face it, when we decide to have a formal evening ceremony, we have smaller turnouts vice daytime ceremonies. Moreover, our largest demographic (E1-E4) has the smallest representation, even when we buy down cost of tickets. However, I would agree that it is right and proper, in the some cases, that we have formal evening ceremonies.
When the Chief and I look at our ceremonies we ask, “What’s important?” Is it more important to maximize participation in the ceremony or is the formality of an evening event more important? BL: What are we trying to accomplish with any given ceremony? The German philosopher Nietzsche taught us that “the most common form of human stupidity is forgetting what one is trying to do.”
In the case of Induction Ceremonies (which are still formal, evening ceremonies), most ALS graduations (which have all been formal, evening ceremonies until the most recent one), etc., one could argue that the formality of the occasion is more important than maximizing participation. For that, we acknowledge we’ll sacrifice participation in order to hold a formal evening event.
However, when we want to maximize participation, like for annual awards, we’ll press with a daytime event while sacrificing some formality. The Chief and I think it’s important that as many Airmen as possible celebrate our annual award nominees and witness our amazing winners.
At the end of the day, the Chief and I were serious when we voiced our commitment to give back time to our Airmen, including evenings. I trust our Airmen are professionals and don’t require the threat of a formal, evening ceremony to properly maintain dress uniforms.
With that said, in all things balance. For each ceremony, we assess “what we’re trying to do” with the ceremony, get feedback from Group Commanders, Squadron Commanders, and Senior Enlisted Leaders, make a decision, and press ahead.
Now that you have an idea what the Chief and I are thinking, if there’s a reason you disagree with a decision made for a specific ceremony, we’d love to hear your feedback and rationale.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: BAH Locality Rates
How does BAH rates drop for new members who PCS in with or without dependents when our rental prices as a whole have not decreased at all? We are not capturing the high end market of rental rates for Grand Forks which DTMO should receive from our HMO. We have to ensure the data we collect is collaborated with property managers in Grand Forks and verified with service members. Not including rental rates from the more expensive areas of Grand Forks does a huge disservice to the BAH rates for enlisted and officers.
Wing Leadership Response: As you’ve alluded to in your question, the office of primary responsibility for data on housing resides within our Civil Engineering Squadron’s Housing Management Office (HMO). Each Spring, our team from the HMO office goes out to Grand Forks City and surrounding towns and surveys a wide range of categories of dwellings. What I can tell you is that this process is very labor intensive and, in the end, is merely a recommendation for what we, locally, feel is appropriate.
The following hyperlink provides a great description and breakdown of how the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) calculates BAH: https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/perdiem/browse/Allowances/BAH/Component_Breakdown/2018-BAH-Rate-Component-Breakdown.pdf
A synopsis is…..data is collected annually for over 300 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates are based on the current local median market rent and average household utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) in each MHA and incorporates a four percent out-of-pocket amount. Collectively, these components establish the total housing costs for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each MHA. Total housing costs are used to set the BAH rates for service members, both with and without dependents, for each pay grade.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: Rock Wall Update
Can we get an update/timeline on when the rock wall will be operational again??
Wing Leadership Response: The Commander and I are both excited for the “Wall” to come back up so we, too, can get certified and take part. Unfortunately, the contract for the required periodic inspection of the Wall expired. From a safety and risk mitigation standpoint, we had to take the Wall out of service until it could be inspected.
I’m happy to report that our Force Support Squadron is partnering with our Contracting Flight to craft a new support contract to perform required Wall inspections. The new contract is in work, and we are fairly confident that the Wall will be back up and running by mid-to-late April. While we wish it were sooner, we are happy to finally have a long-term contract in the works to avoid this lapse in the future.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: 24/7 Gym Access
At the multiple bases I have PCS, TDY, or deployed to the gym had a signup process with safety briefings of all exits, 9-11 phones, AEDs, emergency exits, and a CAC scanner at each door. Instead of making this base miserable for odd shift workers by removing the 24/7 gym, how about remove the duck tape from the gym doors, and troubleshoot the CAC reader on the front door instead of having "duck tape 24/7 access".
Wing Leadership Response: As we discussed at my All Call, I’m absolutely committed to 24/7 access at the Fitness Center as is FSS leadership. As a career 23-year aircraft maintenance officer who always led Airmen working across 3 shifts, I know how important Fitness Center access is to our swing and mid-shift Airmen. You noted in your question multiple ways in which we can reduce risk (safety and security) at the Fitness Center during the times it’s unmanned by FSS personnel. I want to ensure we’re properly mitigating risk and, to that end, my FSS is performing a formal Risk Assessment, which is due to me at the end of February. At that time, they also will present me with options to either repair the existing CAC reader system or invest in a new system. In the interim, we will continue with current operations. Moving forward, my goal is to continue to provide you 24/7 access while smartly mitigating risk and providing you and your families top-notch services.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Request: AF Assignment Process Briefing
Can the Wing host a developmental seminar to inform others about how the AF assignment process works? It seems as most people stationed here are those who are OSR/CONUS mandatory movers where the BOP wasn’t approved so they were assigned here based off the Equals listing. We have an abundance of pipeline Amn who are here as well. From my experience, it seems as I get a different response on how assignments are selected depending on who I ask. I have friends in sister services and their assignment process seems a little simpler than the AF. I’m not asking that everyone gets their wishes, but it always seems like the OSR/CMM is the not so favorable location bases. I personally have friends who have been stationed at good locations for 6-10 years with no short tours but somehow are missed every quarter for a non-vol short tour.
Another issue is that functional managers are not really known to those in their AFSC. Yes, MSgt and above can call but it achieves next to nothing, again from my experience with calling and asking questions for my Amn. It would seem to benefit everyone if they had insight on how selection process works and if functional managers communicated the assignment location needs better throughout their AFSC’s and that the information flowed down to the flight level.
Wing Leadership Response: The Superintendent of our Force Support Squadron, the Career Assistance Advisor, and I meet fairly regularly to discuss potential topics to teach during our Walker Warrior Professional Development Seminar. I’m definitely interested and will speak with other Senior Enlisted Leaders from across the base to determine if there is any interest in potentially doing short class/seminar out of the PDC or the Lunch Bowl at the Education Office.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Fitness Center Improvements
Is there any discussion about making improvements to the fitness center, specifically the weight room areas? I've noticed that they have been adding new equipment and weight machines but it is just becoming more crowded and uncomfortable. Is it possible that we could convert the gym utilized for cross fit/volleyball, into one large weight room? Similar to how Whiteman AFB fitness center is set up. Also, could they invest in more, smaller weights? There is only a tiny rack of 5-25lb dumbbells with mostly 1 set of each size, which has been too limited in my opinion since the year that I've been here
Wing Leadership Response: The FSS had previously evaluated re-converting the volleyball and tactical fitness room for other purposes; however, this area is currently heavily utilized by ALS, Honor Guard, and multiple squadrons across the base for PT. Additionally, the area is also used for volleyball and intramural sports. Due to the heavy utilization by these customers, we decided not to convert this area into a larger weight room.
In an effort to not overcrowd the main weightlifting room, additional lighter weights have been strategically placed throughout the facility. These rooms include the following: upstairs cardio room, functional fitness room, aerobic room (racks 1 & 2) and the parent-child care area.
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: Non Deployable memorandum
I heard we are going to start removing non deployable military members. If we are hurting for more people to join, how will this affect us?
Wing Leadership Response: This is a topic that’s on the minds of many of our Airmen. At this time, we believe we have a good idea of how many Airmen might be affected by this proposed policy on Grand Forks but, admittedly, we haven’t received formal guidance from the Secretary of the Air Force or the Chief of Staff as to how, as an Air Force, we intend to comply with this DoD directive.
I’ve been told we should see formal guidance, either at the end of this week or early next, from our Air Force leaders. DoD has given the Services wide latitude to execute this policy. Specifically, Service Secretaries are authorized to grant waivers to retain service members whose period of "non-deployability" exceeds the 12-month limit.
The Commander and I ask that you be patient while our Air Force crafts service-specific guidance to implement the DoD directive. We’ll communicate Air Force guidance to your group and squadron leadership as soon as we receive it!
ACTION LINE QUESTION: Query: SLIDO for Units/Squadron events
Would there be a way to implement the text/question line into group/squadron all calls and events (commanders breakfasts)?
Why? Often times I find myself as a supervisor being asked questions that I do not have an answer for or have airmen who are not confident enough to ask the question them self. If you've ever been an Arman at a squadron commander’s breakfast it can be very awkward. Many people fear asking questions in group forums due to an innate fear of judgement or lack of self-image or confidence. This would provide an anonymous forum for the airman to use at such events. This would also provide the commanders with a larger window into the heart of their units
Wing Leadership Response: I believe you’re referencing the Slido program we use at our Wing All Calls. I’m glad you like it. We like it too! Chief Thomas and I see real value in providing Airmen the opportunity to provide inputs anonymously. It’s also why we set up the Commander’s Action Line. My team at the Wing Staff will push Slido information to my Group and Squadron Commanders and I will strongly encourage them to use it (or something like it).