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Getting ENERGIZED on Coffee Talks

  • Published
  • By Col. Peter Bonetti
  • Commander, 90th Missile Wing

 I’ve been thinking a lot about teamwork during my first six months here at the Mighty Ninety. As you know, my three priorities remain:  Executing the mission, supporting our Airmen and families, and of course, teamwork. Teamwork is really the support mechanism enabling us to both execute the mission and provide support to our folks. It seems simple but perfecting our teamwork can be challenging unless we value everyone’s contributions. That means listening to each other.

In fact, communication is a vital component of teamwork and the reason the Command Chief and I started Coffee Talks. Due to your courage to speak up, we’ve been able tackle numerous issues and share your ideas for the improvement of our community. So far, we’ve seen a lot of progress.


We had a really good conversation with first sergeants about Airmen ghosting in our dorms. “Ghosting” is when an Airman maintains a room in the dorms and has a residence off base at the same time. We felt there were two issues.

First, we need to rethink dormitories. If our Airmen are already taking the financial plunge by living on the economy, shouldn’t we just start listening to them and start paying them BAH? Second, do we have the authority to approve this at the right level?

Right now, we’ve got the authority to approve basic allowance for housing for grades E1-E4 delegated to our civil engineers but shouldn’t we empower all squadron commanders with the same authority? They know their Airmen best and this will enable units to be more responsive to their needs. It puts the decision where it needs to be, so Mighty Ninety Airman if you want to move off base, talk with your leadership.


Straight from our Airmen came ideas to improve missile chef training. The 90th Force Support Squadron formed a tiger team of four NCOs and seven Airmen to form a new structured training plan. They included ideas submitted by their peers to formulate the overall training plan. This plan enables Airmen to get the necessary training but also bond together as a team. Way to go 90 FSS!

If that was not enough goodness for you, we were able to share many experiences, concerns and answer questions while having coffee with our fantastic spouses. One of the great ideas was to have an automotive boot camp to help people prepare for the winter. No, we did not sit on our hands. The 90 FSS heard the call and quickly put together a fantastic event.

Also, as part of empowering our squadrons, we delegated the ability to defer professional military education to squadron commanders. They will know what impact PME training will have on the mission and will be able to properly coordinate the right time for our Airmen to get this essential training.


When we invest in our Airmen, not only will their lives be improved, they will improve the lives around them. We heard loud and clear Airmen want growth opportunities, so we stepped up our mentorship game. We implemented several opportunities for our Airmen, NCOs, SNCOs, company grade officers, civilians and spouses to grow. We understand people may ask themselves, “How do I fit into the 90th Missile Wing mission?” The Chief and I are tackling this head on. First, we started a shadow program. If you want to see a “day in the life of” wing leadership, you are invited. Between the chief and I, we have had more than 13 Airmen, three spouses and one dependent shadow us and see the mission firsthand.

Wait that’s not all! We empowered Airmen to attend the Air Force Association Symposium and the Professional Airman Conference. These Airmen got front row seats to see and hear from Air Force leaders. They now have a better idea of the importance of our no fail mission.

Let us not forget the importance of our heritage. Our history makes us smarter, but learning our heritage gives us pride of why we serve each and every day. Nine Airmen traveled to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to experience our heritage at the National Museum of the Air Force. We approved to continue this semi-annual heritage learning tradition. I challenge anyone interested in shadowing or attending these professional military education opportunities in the future to work with your leadership and let us know.


Next, we were worried about how to address housing maintenance concerns. The Military Housing Office and Balfour-Beatty Communities at F.E. Warren are dedicated to making sure your needs are being met as quickly as possible. On a side note, because we want to ensure we accurately get the requests in.  Believe it or not, much of the confusion starts in the beginning during work order submissions, so we recently implemented the “RENTCage” Resident App for all routine work orders. It provides a quick and easy way to submit work order requests and track the process of work orders through completion. We want to ensure your maintenance issues are resolved effectively and in a timely fashion.

Although you can reach us through the app, BBC or MHO, we have started a Resident Council made up of volunteers living in each base neighborhood. The purpose of the council is to encourage residents to engage in their community and positively affect the quality of life for families. Residents are empowered to share your ideas, suggestions, express concerns and work with community advisors to develop solutions. We would love to hear from you. Join our next meeting on December 4, 2019, 6 p.m., at the Neighborhood Center.

We even got to clear up the misconception that we do not have information to share with inbound personnel to make good housing choices. This could not be further from the truth. The MHO has resources to ensure new people have the information they need. MHO can also help negotiate rental limitations like pets. Contact them at 307-773-1840 or


We still have work to do on BAH, housing suitability and availability. We are working diligently with local partners and investors for an enhanced use lease to build affordable housing close to base. We are also opening the BAH survey longer and doing a permanent change of station intensive season and including other zip code regions to get an accurate cost for housing. I want to ensure our Airmen and families have options.

There’s tons more! We’re working traffic concerns, additional pool hours, delegating more authorities to unit level and getting some speed cameras in housing. Additionally, there’s some mentorship we owe to our officers as we transition to the new developmental categories, and improvements to roads and gates. Our job isn’t finished. It’s just beginning.

I need your help to get the word out in your squadrons and to your families. We are ready to listen and take action to improve our Mighty Ninety family. You can be a spectator or you can join us on the field. Together we will win. Check out our schedule! Now, come and have some coffee with us and let’s talk!