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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | March 8, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.

 

If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

 

Personnel Issues

 

Q. Can the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron HVAC shop participate in physical training?

 

A. Great question! The health of our work force is very important and key to our wing remaining mission ready. In my policy letter on Civilian Participation in Physical Fitness Activities, I identify that all full time employees are authorized up to three hours of duty time per week to participate in personal fitness programs. This is dependent upon mission and workload requirements, and is at the judgement of unit commanders/directors and supervisory staff. Specifically within the 502d CES where the HVAC shop falls, the process requires members to submit a fitness activities form to their supervisor to request starting or changing their personal fitness schedule.

 

Thank you again for your question and especially thank you for all that you and your team do to maintain a very complex network of HVAC systems across JBSA. You all are amazing and are absolutely critical to our mission readiness.

 

Q. Why is there a disparity in discipline when it comes to officer and enlisted? The perception is that officers get a slap on the hand and enlisted are more harshly punished.

 

A. Thank you very much for your question. Maintaining good order and discipline includes holding individuals accountable for their actions, regardless of rank.

 

Ensuring swift and fair justice is a top priority for me and all of my commanders. Commanders rely on our Staff Judge Advocates, or SJAs, for advice and guidance on the legal sufficiency of military justice actions.

 

Decision points include: (1) deciding whether to take disciplinary action; (2) determining proper charges; and (3) selecting the proper forum. Factors such as the alleged crime; extenuating or aggravating factors involved; as well as the member’s prior history (good or bad) are valid considerations.

 

Judge advocates work hand-in-hand with commanders and first sergeants to ensure that cases are based on those factors and the factual evidence with a view that similar offenses are treated as consistently as appropriate across different units. Quarterly status of discipline meetings help myself and other commanders, command chiefs, and first sergeants at JBSA identify trends or disparate punishments for seemingly similar offenses.

 

Military justice actions involve sensitive and protected information not releasable to the public which can create nuances. Often it does appear that there are different outcomes for officers and enlisted members for similar cases. Notably, the impact of punishment varies between officers and enlisted members. For example, when an enlisted member receives a Letter of Reprimand, or LOR, the commander has discretion whether to place it in an Unfavorable Information File, or UIF. However, when an officer receives an LOR, the filing in a UIF is mandatory.

Additionally, the commander must then consider whether the LOR gets filed in the member’s Officer Selection Record which is provided to the promotion board. Therefore, an LOR for an officer can have potentially career-ending impacts whereas an enlisted member has an opportunity of overcoming a similar action.

 

With an Article 15, enlisted members can be reduced in rank, but officers cannot. And while retirement eligible officers can be subjected to an Officer Grade Determination, a process which could result in retirement at a lower grade than currently held, there is no similar process for enlisted members.

 

Finally, in terms of what the available data demonstrates, Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris, the Air Force Inspector General, testified in front of Congress in February 2018 on this topic. She indicated that the Air Force’s data does not show a disparity in punishments based on rank.

 

Please let me know if this response does not help answer your question or if you have any follow up questions.

 

Installation & Facilities

 

Q. I have suggested off and on, for the past six months or so, that blue recyclable receptacles be placed in the men’s and women’s locker rooms. A small outlay of funds to purchase would do a tremendously good thing for the base and our surroundings.

 

A. Thank you for using our JBSA fitness facilities and your concern to be environmental friendly! The decision to not have recycling receptacles in the locker rooms at our fitness centers is due to limited spacing and high traffic volume in many of our locations. The majority of our Fitness Centers do have recyclable containers in the lobby or outside the building which can be used by customers and we will continue to work with all of our locations to provide ample recycling ability to our staff and customers.

 

Q. How can we improve Airmen’s quality of life in the dorms? It is hard to tackle dorm issues and it often takes a while to get an answer.

 

A. Thank you very much for your question. We are working hard to improve the quality of life our dormitories. In addition to base defense, our dorms are one of my top priorities. We have a lot of work to and are partnering with Headquarters Air Force and Air Education and Training Command to improve the condition and quality of our dorms.

 

There are currently more than $100 million in ongoing investments and an additional $530 million in major repairs, renovations and new construction targeted in the next three years for JBSA dorms. In addition, ensuring optimal living conditions is a multi-role approach that includes active participation between the occupants, facility managers, unit leadership, 502d Civil Engineer Group and 502d Air Base Wing leadership.

 

For Training Dorms, issues and recommended improvements should be routed through local leadership and facility managers who then communicate and track needs with CE. For Permanent Party Dorms, issues and recommended improvements should be raised with dorm management or through dorm councils, who also communicate with CE. Please share your recommendations with our team and importantly, please help us identify any areas in the dorms which need our immediate attention.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Q. What action can be taken and/or who is responsible for protecting our activities on-base from the current rampant vandalism occurring on a daily/weekly basis? The 502d Force Support Squadron has spent almost $200,000 on a brand new self-serve car wash. The rules are clearly posted so that all customers can see what is and what is not allowed at the car wash. On a daily basis, the equipment is broken and damaged beyond repair, customers and non-customers are dumping mud and lawn refuse when it clearly states that it should not be. This blatant disregard is beyond disappointing since 95 percent of folks on base are related somehow to the military – whether active duty, retiree, dependent, government civilian, etc.

 

A. Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. Although there have been no recent police reports to this point, the base grounds company has been seen washing their maintenance equipment in the bays so management is reaching out to request assistance in cleaning up after in support of the posted rules.

 

Unfortunately, it appears the misuse of equipment is what causes some of the broken equipment which is disappointing. We would all hope people would treat the facility equipment as if it were their own. The Auto Hobby Shop management will continue to address the misuse professionally as they see it occurring and continue doing a great job of replacing broken items as quickly as possible.

 

Q. I presently wear hearing aids, as it has helped my hearing problem. The problem at the commander’s calls were that the band was so loud I had to remove my hearing aids. When the band played, I had to take them out and cover my ears. Then when a speaker was talking, I had to put them back in. Is there any way the volume could be turned down? I am sure that the loud volume was bothering other people also.

 

A. We appreciate your feedback and thank you for attending our commander’s call! Our band audio engineers are on-site at every commander’s call monitoring the volume and we will work with them at future events to maintain the volume at a reasonable level. The band by its very nature will be louder than individual speakers and if the volume is still too loud, please let one of our musicians know and we will gladly adjust the output levels. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at our commander’s calls in April!