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Coffee Talk with Airmen

JULY 2020

Action Items:

  • Shadow Program Restart: Airmen would like to restart the Shadow program for the command chief and the wing commander. We’ll continue to evaluate the environment and get this started once we are reasonably safe. (OPR: CCC/CC)
  • Diversity Council: There’s a whole host of events and activities headed our way to help us get after difficult times. (OPR: CCC/CC)
  • eSports: We need a way to virtually connect. The Army is using a pretty active eSports campaign. Seems awesome. Let’s try it! (OPR: FSS)

Old Action Items: Note: Updates are in red.

  • Chief Out of Cycle Hires: Chief Bettisworth and wing commander are working to get out-of-cycle hires for vacant chief positions. She's looking into the upcoming Civil Engineer Squadron and Security Forces Squadron vacancies right now. Priority fills established! CLOSED (OPR: CCC)
  • ALS Graduation Fluctuates: We'll try a few different ideas and see which works well. Right now, an afternoon ceremony (UOD for attendees; service dress for participants), no dinner or guest speaker. ALS Commandant has process in place to try a variety of solutions. CLOSED (OPR: MSG)
  • LCC Seat Cushions: They are here. MXG will give them to OG for installation. All cushions installed. (OPR: MXG; OCR:  OG)
  • Running Blinking Red Light at Gate 1: People are running the blinking red light at Gate 1. Turned over to ground safety to look at but, this is an enforcement problem. Until we get a better manning level in SFS, we are going to be low on patrols. No additional issues during the past three months but we need to monitor now that we’ve re-opened that gate. (OPR: SE)
  • Relook at Wing Resource Advisor Structure: Need to relook at our Wing RA structure. When we redistributed the RAs from the wing levels back to the units, we may not have gotten this exactly right. CPTS and LaunchWERX are tackling as a continuing process improvement. Manpower took this on, and we are continuing to work this validation. (OPR: MSG; OCR: FM)
  • OCP Morale Patches: We see some other folks doing this so we need to figure out if this is going to be a new offering or do we need to proceed with our own policy? MSG has divided this into two tasks. First Functional Tabs...like the SF on the current OCP. Can we get one that says "ICBM"? Second, straight up morale patches. Corporate answer is still no but Col Ammons is wading through a murky fog to try to get us to yes. MXG led the functional tab charge. It’s at 20AF for review. Still holding fast on morale patches (OPR:  MSG)
  • Advertising: We need a comprehensive advertising campaign it needs to include APF, NAF, and Mission Partner advertising. We can’t figure out how to have a consolidated calendar of events. Form a stakeholders group to take this one. The solution will include text-casting. (OPR: PA) PA has formed a Communication Synchronization Working Group to work this issue and created a plan to combine advertising efforts for key events. First month went pretty well but we'll keep this one open till we see some more success with the app and with the community displays. Need to reinvigorate this effort. PA has lead. (OPR: PA)
  • 24/7 Pool Hours for Active Duty: Waiver is at 20 AF. 20 AF/A1 is working with FSS on queries. The struggle continues to be the risk to patrons with clean water. The waiver package was denied but we really aren’t seeing any expanded hours.
  • Welcome Center Development: AFGSC has directed wings to develop and open a welcome center (OPR: CC) AFRC has the lead on this. FSS and DoS have supplied tons of stuff. AFRC is scheduling a TDY to Whiteman to view the model. AFRC has pushed the space requirement to the Facilities Utilization Board for review. Plan is approved. We'll use building 210 as the Welcome Center. OPEN AND SUCCESSFUL. LOVE ACROSS THE WING TO EVERYONE INVOLVED. CLOSED!
  • Family Care Plans: The command chief and the shirts took on the family care plans. We’ve all seen this antiquated plan cause us unnecessary strife. The shirts are working with LaunchWerx on courses of actions. A brilliant interim solution was developed and implemented our team. There’s additional step to go but this is on the right path so we’ll take it off the radar. CLOSED.
  • Civilian Council Private Org: Our civilian Airmen are kicking around the idea of a private org for civilians. My thanks to Mr. Hunt for jumping on this. (OPR: EO) After some research and effort, looks like we are going to add a Civilian Council vice a private org.
  • How do we get Uber and Lyft on base? The 90 MW/CCE’s mission to help us get to yes on this. (OPR:  CCE) Got in touch with Uber and is getting them to distribute the Uber app with the MILITARY options in this region.
  • Missile Field POS System for Kitchens: FSS is working. (OPR:  MSG) Two POS systems will be installed this month at missile alert facilities to test. No inventory system though. We are researching what that costs.
  • Commissary can’t Process WIC: We asked the Commissary to find out. (OPR: CC) Chief Bettisworth spoke with the Commissary folks and they are checking to see if they can get this sped up but it looks like we’ll get this in August.
  • Speeding on Base: Folks are pretty fed up with this. Although they are glad to hear about the increased patrols and inbound speed carts, they want a few more things. One of those things is "Slow, Children" signs at the 15 MPH zones near playgrounds. Our placement on base is inconsistent. Some playgrounds have them; others don't. Sounds reasonable to me but I'd like to through that over to ground safety to work through the Traffic Safety Board. (OPR: SE) SFG had ordered the first speed cart. After delivery, expect another week for us to complete actions needed to start using it. Cart's finishing up calibration and we'll start random deployments this week. Oh, and if you haven't seen them, SFS is doing a phenomenal job cracking down on speeders! SLOW DOWN! Speed carts are functional and working well and we fixed the road by the SFG headquarters. We’ll keep this open to monitor for the SLOW, CHILDREN signs.
  • FCC Providers: We won't ever have enough but we need to do a better job getting the requirements out to our base population. Currently, FCC training is scheduled 4 times a year. Spouses would like this to be conducted more often. Chief Bettisworth contacted FSS and found out FSS is willing to work with anyone on an individual basis to get requirements complete. Should conduct a rotational PA campaign. Asked FSS and PA to tell me what they think and we can go from there. (OPR: PA/FSS) FSS got this out there and on the website. We'll periodically refresh! CLOSED.
  • Gym Equipment & Bigger Kids Room in Gym: Spouses would like more equipment and a bigger kid room in the gym. Chief Bettisworth asked all of them to get these comments into ICE. Chief Bettisworth also worked with Chief Anderson on the missing functional fitness equipment. (OPR: CCC; OCR: MSG) Chief has a list of the missing functional fitness equipment and got this fixed. CLOSED
  • CDC Outdoor Playtime: Sounds like we weren't allowing kids outside in pretty decent weather because we had some snow piles along the fences. This is probably a moot point today, given the weather but we should take a look at the CDC snow/ice removal to see if we can facilitate outdoor playtime (OPR: FSS) Two days of 60 degree weather fixed this but Col Ammons and her MSG team are going to keep an eye on it. CLOSED.

Informational Items:

  • What’s knowledge management? Our CGOs are asking where we are going. Part of STRIKER culture is absolutely innovating how we infuse and use data. A large part of this effort is understanding and assessing what data is available. Knowledge Management is the organizational structure that will enable this!
  • Lead/mentor, understand your environment: As we spoke with the CGOs, we continue to mentor them to develop into leaders that are better, smarter and more lethal than we are. Part of that is understanding your own environment. Do this by asking: 1. What do we do? 2. What should we do? 3. How well are we doing it? 4. How do we know that?
  • Mental Health Myth: There’s a concern that going to Mental Health will get you kicked out. This is untrue. Literally, dozens of folks go every day to the clinic and get the time, space and help they need. If you still have a concern about that stigma, go see our military family and life counselors (MFLACs). They will keep you safe.
  • Airmen Deployments: Some Airmen are actively looking for the opportunity to deploy. They want to help make a difference. Please take care of your folks. Have a chat with them about their ideal deployment and help them get to yes.
  • Air Show Thanks: Everyone loved the Air Show! Our thanks to all the wing members who had a hand in making this so successful. WELL DONE!
  • Civilian Hires: In every forum, we were able to compliment the units for using the special qualifications pay to get bodies into civilian vacancies. Our CPO has done an amazing job providing a gentle but firm hand to guide our folks to success in civilian hiring. UPDATE: CPO continues to find ways to onboarding quickly and efficiently.
  • BAH Rates/Dorm Occupancy: Shirts remain vigilant on our dormitory occupancy rates as well as our base allowance for housing (BAH) rates. BAH re-look continues to go up but we’re not really hopeful. We do see a positive trend in the dormitories. There's a lot of folks who like the dorms. Knowing they are choosing to live in the dorms helps us get buy-in from residents. Units are doing a great job determining if an Airman is ready to head downtown. If a first sergeant and commander don't think someone's a candidate for BAH, that's in their lane to keep them in the dorms.

FEBRUARY 2020

Action Items:

  • Commissary doesn’t process WIC: This has been known for a while, but wasn’t tracking.  We are putting a demand signal out to the Commissary and finding out the schedule for the upgrade.  (OPR:  CC)
  • Speeding: Spouses are pretty fed up with this.  Although, they are glad to hear about the increased patrols and inbound speed carts, they want a few more things.  One of those things is "Slow, Children" signs at the 15 MPH zones near playgrounds.  Our placement on base is inconsistent.  Some playgrounds have them; others don’t.  We’ll work those changes through ground safety through the Traffic Safety Board.  (OPR:  SE)
  • FCC Providers: We won't ever have enough, but we need to do a better job getting the requirements out to our base population.  Currently, FCC training is scheduled 4 times a year.  Spouses would like this to be conducted more often.  The 90th Force Support Squadron is willing to work with anyone on an individual basis to get requirements complete.  Need a PA campaign that periodically puts requirements up on social media.  Asking 90 FSS and 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs to research it. (OPR:  PA/FSS)
  • Off base access to BBC events: The Spouses would like to have access to Balfour Beatty Community’s neighborhood recreational programs.  We’ve mentioned this to BBC, and we'll continue to work this through the Military Housing Office. (OPR:  MSG)
  • Gym Equipment: Spouses would like more equipment and a bigger kid room in the gym.  Please submit put these comments into ICE.  We’re working on the missing functional fitness equipment.  (OPR:  CCC; OCR:  MSG)
  • CDC Outdoor Playtime: Sounds like we weren't allowing kids outside in pretty decent weather because we had some snow piles along the fences.  We should take a look at the Child Development Center snow/ice removal to see if we can facilitate outdoor playtime. (OPR:  FSS)

     

    Informational Items:

  • Airman in Pain:  One of our Airmen told us he was in pain for two weeks while waiting for what he described as an urgent dental appointment.  His first request was to extend sick call hours.  He didn't know what a patient advocate was and had only talked to the clinic about the appointment.  We put this back into his corner, and asked him to use his supervisor, first shirt, commander and the patient advocate to work this first before jumping up to us.
  • Off-Base Apartment Complex: Folks are excited about the apartment complex development off base.  We'll keep giving out the info on this.
  • Our Airmen asked if there's a plan to get a bigger indoor track.  Given our facilities and their current outstanding sustainment, I don't see this in the foreseeable future.  I suspect if and when we decided a new gym was needed, we'd look at that.
  • Dorm Garage: Our Airmen asked for a garage over at the dorms.  We have far too many mission requirements to pay for first so a parking lot isn't high on the list.  We’d be willing to look at a troop training project for a HESCO cover but I think that's going to provide minimal coverage.  Besides, we'd probably want to put that type of structure to protect the vehicles for those out in the field.
  • Risk-Based Response: We talked through thoughts on Risk-Based Response, both in the missile field and in the weapon storage area.  We need to be smart about the risks we are willing to take.
  • Rent CafĂ©: Every spouse who lived in Balfour Beatty was asked if they had and used the app.  All said yes.  That's a good news story.
  • Residents Council. Had a great chat with the spouses on the Residents Council and asked that they bring up their housing complaints there.  See you at the next one on March 4, 2020, at the BBC neighborhood center at 5:30 p.m.
  • Potholes: Folks are concerned this year will be a repeat of last year with the potholes.  The 90th Civil Engineer Squadron is working on a Pothole Patrol day after Mother's Day.  We are going to be proactive this year.

SEPTEMBER 2019

Action Items:

  • Mental Health Provider Availability:  Families are having difficulties getting appointments with mental health providers and asked for more info to go out on who is in the network downtown. (OPR: MDG)
  • Youth Center Holiday/Family Day Care:  Family members would like to have Youth Center sign-ups for holidays and family days. Specifically, they’d like to “sub-let” their slots out to others and avoid having to pay for a week of daycare (during spring break, for instance) while someone else could take advantage of the opening. There is a survey regarding childcare during family days at this point. Most said they hadn’t seen it. This is another signal that we haven’t quite figured out what our family care customers want. (OPR: MSG)
  • Dorm Roommate Personality Match:  Airmen asked if we could put a “personality questionnaire” in place to better match roommates. The Command Chief explained this was a pretty tough thing to do given the timing of dorm arrivals and our occupancy rate but said she’d look into it. (OPR: CCC)
  • Bouncy Castle:  Bouncy castle at First Friday…it was a hit! Thanks Izzy!
  • TLE extensions:  The Judge Advocate and the 90th Comptroller Squadron are researching the issues. (OPR: CPTS / JA)
  • Pets and lodging during PCS seasons:  We will bring up the issue during the next Military Affairs Committee. (OPR:  CC)
  • Housing Clause:  The wait for on-base housing and lack of pet-friendly options are causing Airmen to enter into leases beyond the month-to-month scope, forcing them to fulfill the terms of their contract before moving on base. (OPR: CC)
  • Christmas Tree Lighting:  Last year’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was underwhelming. Good news, there is a volunteer who is going to take this one on – Senior Airman Thomas from the emergency management shop! Thanks Civil Engineer Squadron! (OPR: CE, SrA Thomas)

Informational Items:

  • BAH rates update:  Currently in initial stages of base allowance for housing re-evaluation, along with a recap of what has been discovered so far.
  • Resident’s Council:  Unveiled proposal for a resident’s council to provide transparency to the partnership with Balfour Beatty and their performance here. This would be part of the Key Spouse Program.
  • Lack of Moving Companies:  It was asked if it is possible to increase the number of moving providers during the permanent change of station season. The answer is no, but both the 90th Force Support Squadron Stop Loss initiative during Cheyenne Frontier Days season, as well as the Air Force initiative designed to spread out PCS season to avoid these issues in the future were explained. Return no later than dates are negotiable. There is an effort to alleviate this issue in the future.
  • Gate 2 Safety:  Family members remain concerned about the lack of traffic signals on Missile Drive. Provided an update that covered the lights, speeding and the location of the future apartment complex.
  • Around the World Potluck:  This is a new event to bring F.E. Warren families together. See you there!
  • Then There Were Only 6:  Only six Airmen were at the coffee. This engagement is to facilitate open communication. Interestingly enough, several Airmen complained about a lack of participation from other Airmen in events they have planned. There was a pretty robust conversation about leadership expectations and event planning.
  • Optometrist:  It was explained having a lack of an optometrist is only a temporary problem.
  • Fitness Acclimation:  An Airmen asked to extend the acclimation period. It was recommend to see a medical provider if it is a medical issue.
  • Moving Tactical Response Force Stage Location:  One Airmen asked if it is possible to stage the TRF vehicles in a different location because it temporarily restricts parking. There will be no compromise to security for parking spaces.
  • New Security Forces Schedule:  SF Airmen are really looking forward to the proposed scheduling changes in January.

JUNE 2019

Action Items:

  • Interim Security Clearances (OPR: DOS / IP): Much like all new AF personnel, clearances can take quite a while. Waivers for some clearances (like Secret) are surprisingly not being used. IP will remind commanders when interim clearances can and should be used. It was explained why clearances are taking so long and what we are doing to prioritize clearances and mitigate gaps.  WAY FORWARD:  Awaiting IP action. OPEN.
  • Training Days (SFG / MSG): Both SFG and FSS folks would like more structure and substance to their training days. They are hungry for more! SFG and FSS should take a look at their training days and ensure they are being productive.

    BLUF:  Although both SFG and MSG have training programs in place, there is continuous work to refine the structure. Specific to FSS, as requested, there are three different “training days”: 1. FSS Warrior/Training Day (first Thursday), 2. MSG Warrior Day (third Thursday), and 3. MAFFO Day (occurs on a schedule specific to MAFFO). Good info for all of us to know.

    DISCUSSION:  Airmen assigned to MAFFO are in 1 of 4 status’ at any given time (1. Tripped Out, 2. Protected Days Off, 3. MAFFO Day (training/office work), 4. Official Leave.)  The intent for MAFFO day is more than just “training,” it is for dedicated white space on the Airmen’s schedule to accomplish a multitude of requirements which include: training, medical appointments, general housekeeping tasks at MAFFO, and other appointments/tasks that cannot be accomplished while in the field/tripped-out; and these include items that is preferred for them not to accomplish on their protected days off. Training includes: CDC studying/training, executing MAF inventories, accounting, storeroom ops, food handlers training, ServSafe, physical fitness, MAF site inspections and basic housekeeping. Additionally, FSS incorporate SABC, CPR/AED and Home Station Readiness training because the Airmen assigned to MAFFO may not be able to participate in the FSS or MSG Warrior/Training Days. Reference cross-sharing across sections, training days are also used to assist members in CDCs, based on the volume they are studying, to rotate to another section to gain more hands-on experience within that volume (i.e. if they are studying fitness, the intent is for the Airmen to go to the Fitness center).

    WAY FORWARD:  It can be done better. Both SFG and MSG are developing more detailed training plans and will engage with the CEM reference finalization and implementation. Flight leadership will reemphasize the importance of properly utilizing MAFFO days for their intended purpose. This will, however, include tasks/duties outside of the scope of ‘training,’ but must be accomplished to keep the mission going.  Additionally, across the squadrons, MSG has an integrated “MSG Warrior Day.” Warrior Day is planned in conjunction with leads from all MSG units, with leads planning training for the group and/or squadron specific training. We have to try to minimize class time and PowerPoint during Warrior Days. The majority of the training is hands on items such as land navigation, use of force, Warrior Ethos Challenge, etc. training will continue to be ramped up as it moves towards Phase I & II type exercises in the MSG this fall. This will be revisited later this quarter. OPEN.

  • Chef rotations (MSG): Chefs would like to be considered for rotation to other FSS jobs. Many have been in the field for years. They asked if they could do rotations to other FSS sections on their training days to learn more about their jobs…holy cow…they really want to grow! Airmen deserve to be deliberately developed. Services Airmen rotation plan and challenges will be looked at closer. This can be discussed concurrently with the training day discussion.

    BLUF:  This is a numbers problem that has to be managed. The majority of Services Airmen positions are at MAFFO, and unfortunately there are not enough billets in the other FSS sections for one-for-one duty rotations. Recently, there has been high turnover in MAFFO duty positions for various reasons. In that same time, only 3-4 personnel have rotated back to MAFFO who have already completed tours in order to fill the gap. Additionally, based on inbounds, there are approximately 16-19 personnel assigned to main base who have never been assigned to MAFFO. The rotation planning will continue to be carefully worked.

    DISCUSSION:  There are 100 3F1 billets in the FSS (MAFFO: 61, DFAC: 21, Fitness: 15, Lodging: 3, Community Services Flight: 3). In FY20, the squadron will lose the three billets assigned to lodging and should move under the Community Services Flight. Within the Sustainment Flight (FSV), 82 of 100 billets are food service related. Ideally, it is preferred to have Airmen assigned to MAFFO no greater than two years. The high turnover, however, has resulted in some Airmen needing to stay at MAFFO longer, or having to rotate Airmen back to MAFFO after already completing a tour.  Previously, FSS engaged with AFGSC and AFSVC regarding the possibility of Missile Chefs being a controlled tour. However, based on how personnel have to be rotated between main-base and MAFFO, it was concluded this was not the right way forward. It was considered if 3F1 positions should be a code 50 to force a mandatory move at a certain point of time, but this only impacts their total time on station. This still could potentially mean an Airman may be at MAFFO longer than two years, or will rotate back if required. Additionally, the core lengths (12 months and 18 months) make it more difficult to rotate Airmen in/out of sections. It is projected the career field will reduce the 18 month requirement to 12 months, just waiting on final guidance. This will help with some of the issues, but not all.  

    WAY FORWARD:  The rotation planning will continue to be carefully worked. The MAFFO mission must be filled 100% and is the one area within the FSS/FSV flight that cannot be risked. Unfortunately, due to high turnover, Airmen will have to remain at MAFFO longer or rotate back in order to execute the mission. The command is dedicated to continuing its best efforts to maintain a fair and equitable rotation plan to limit the number of Airmen who may stay at MAFFO past the 2-year point. MSG will better communicate with Airmen to ensure everyone understands the current situation and the expectations. CLOSED.

  • Dorm 838 (CCC / SFG / MSG / MDG): Dorm residents brought up concerns about the conditions in Bldg. 838. Command will reach out to the groups and get the right folks together to check this out and walk through the hallways this weekend and report what is found.

    BLUF: Dorm Management walked through each room in Bldg. 838 to assess the living conditions and the report of possible mold. They found that there was not a visible case of mold in any of the dorm rooms. In addition, the CE team made contact with 12 individuals and asked if they had any concerns. Nobody reported any issues to the team, but some mildew from damp conditions was noticed.

    WAY FORWARD: Dorm Management will send an email to all of the residents in Dorm 838 informing them to have their A/C constantly running between 68-72 degrees. This will aid in dehumidifying the rooms to eliminate mildew. There were quite a few A/C units with filters that had not been cleaned and were clogged. The dirty filters inhibit airflow throughout the room. Dorm Management will ensure Airmen are educated on how to accomplish the filter cleaning. MSG also contacted Bioenvironmental on the concern, but after the site visit no issues were noted. Dorm 838 is far from an ideal dorm. However, dorm requirements drive the use of this facility.  Conditions will continue to be monitored.  OPEN.

  • AGE (MXG): MXG troops believe we should turn our AGE over to the Guard or contract it out. This has been brought up before, but there have been no solutions reached. Looking for MXG’s thoughts on this. Awaiting MXG recommendation.  OPEN.
  • Loan Repayment Program (MSG): It was asked if it is possible to bring back the loan repayment program. The education office might be able to help explain what that program was and why it went away. Looking to get more information on the status of the program.

    BLUF: Participation in the program is determined during the initial enlistment. Enrollment in the Enlisted College Loan Repayment Program (ECLRP) must be annotated as part of the enlistment contract on the AF Form 3008, Supplement to Enlistment Agreement. If not annotated on their enlistment contract, there’s no provision that would allow an Airmen to ‘opt-in’ to the program after signing their enlistment contract with their Recruiter. 

    DISCUSSION:  The program is only available for non-prior service active-duty enlisted Airmen. Airmen must have entered AD on/or after 5 May 2000 (no exceptions). The ECLRP statement must be clearly annotated on the AF Form 3008.  Program pays up to $10,000 over 3-year period, minus taxes.  As of 1 Oct 2013, Airmen are awarded one of the seven eligible AFSCs (listed below).  The remaining pool of eligible Airmen would be very small and limited to those who haven’t used the program, but based on above guidance would still need annotation on the AF Form 3008.

    • 1W0X1 Weather
    • 3D032 Cyber Systems Operations
    • 3D033 Cyber Surety
    • 3D034 Computer Systems Programming
    • 3D131 Client Systems
    • 3D132 Cyber Transport Systems
    • 4H031 Cardiopulmonary Laboratory

WAY FORWARD:  The education team is looking into all the programs similar in nature to offset student loans that can be shared with supervisors. Additionally, if Airmen need assistance with financial planning, financial advisors at the A&FRC stand ready to assist Airmen with their financial literacy and help create budgets/research avenues in repaying debts. CLOSED.