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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | April 19, 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. Until August 2018, the Ear Nose and Throat clinic at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland provided retirees with retiree at-cost hearing aids under Department of Defense Health Agency procedures.

According to DOD Defense Health Agency, Procedural Instruction number 6025.12, dated October 16, 2018, the program for the Retiree At-Cost Hearing Aid Purchase Program, or RACHAP, is still a benefit and has been expanded to include spouses on space available basis.

After checking with the ENT Clinic recently, they said they did not provide this service and had no idea if or when they would resume the former practice. JBSA-Lackland is the only base in Texas listed for retirees by the Military Audiologist Association.

Will the ENT clinic at either of the Joint Base San Antonio hospitals offer this program for retirees? My hearing aids from 2000 need to be replaced. We retirees need help with this program!

A. Thank you very much for your question. We learned from our partners in the 59th Medical Wing that the Retiree At-Cost Hearing Aid Purchase Program, or RACHAP, is currently not being offered at the JBSA ENT clinics.

Our medics sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to those who benefitted from RACHAP; however, after assessing their manpower, this service has been reduced in order to ensure mission readiness of active duty servicemen and women.

They are, however, able to service and repair hearing aids under warranty at the walk-in hearing aid clinic in Audiology at Wilford Hall from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Thursday. For beneficiaries needing services outside of warranty repairs, you may be eligible for audiological care and hearing aids through the South Texas Veteran’s Health Care System. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest provider of audiological care and premium-level hearing device technology at no-cost in the world and is an excellent benefit to utilize.

To request an appointment, please call the Datapoint Clinic at 210-617-5300, ext. 18916. The 59th MDW will continue to assess their capability in regards to offering this program again in the future.

Q. Long time reader, first time writer, love the show. Can something be done to fix the NAFPAY website (https://afsfms.afsv.net)? This site has had issues for months.

The majority of the NAF employees that work at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston cannot access the site from work or from home. We are told that people are working on it, but there never seems to be any sense of urgency to fix it.

NAF employees must go to the NAF HR office to have their leave and earnings statements printed or send emails to other bases to get their tax documents. Can you help get this fixed?

A. I’ve recently received several questions regarding the same important topic, so hopefully I can address all those concerns here. Unfortunately, the website, https://afsfms.afsv.net, is only accessible from a computer on a government network. Both network access and system permissions will dictate an employee’s ability to access Discoverer, Oracle, MyMoney, view statements, and modify their W4 form. Per the AFSVA IT Office, there is a workaround that might help our employees on the .mil network:

1. Attempt to connect to website https://afsfms.afsv.net/
2. If you are unable to connect to the above site with a .mil computer (spin of death), then

            a. Confirm SSL is unchecked and TLS are all checked

            b. Ensure the URL (afsv.net) has been added to the Compatibility View Settings

3. If you still receive the error (proxy, server, etc.) that means that your base’s external IP’s may be blocked.

a. Go to google.com and type in the search bar “What is my IP” (only from a .mil CPU). Open a MyPers ticket and attach/copy that IP to it.

b. Once AFSVA receives the ticket, the Network Team will action it to add the computer to the Access List, allowing connection to the network.

Another option that will be available soon is the https://nafpay.afsv.net/ website, which will be accessible from home and/or a mobile device. When active, users will be able to access LES and W2 information on this site. AFSVA will notify all customers when the site is operational. In the meantime, if the workaround above are not effective, please let me know and I’ll reengage with AFSVA.

Installation & Facilities

Q. First I’d like to say thank our security personnel on the front lines defending our bases. 

For the Walters Gate at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, there are times when not all gates are open. That is understandable as I’m certain manning is difficult to maintain sometimes, and there is even a big red “X” lit up indicating which gates are closed.

What is difficult though is that Walters Road curves just before the gates and those green or red “X”s are not able to be seen until you are right up on the gates. It would be very helpful to alleviate some of these things with some sort of cost efficient means if at all possible.

A. Thank you so much for your question. We agree – the Walters gate needs improvement and we are pursuing several initiatives.

Security Forces is presently pursuing an effort to provide improved signage and lane status indicators on base property to improve driver awareness. Additionally, our Civil Engineer team is working with the City of San Antonio to develop a project to improve traffic flow well outside the gate, also targeted to include lane status indicators.

We hope to see progress on these initiatives in the coming year as funding becomes available. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience as we work this solution.

Q. I have seen quite a bit of feedback/concerns in the weekly Q&A’s related to gate operations.

When I was stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, there was program that would manage volunteers (officers, enlisted, and civilians) to check IDs in the morning for a couple/few hours to help compliment the current manning.  This, of course, was staffed through units and would be at the approval of an individual’s leadership. One would sign up for certain dates/time slots.  I believe we were provided slides beforehand to review and help train us on the basics. It seemed to work well and helped with traffic as we would have 2-4 folks in each lane. Might be helpful during lunch timeframe also?

A. Thank you very much for your suggestion concerning using volunteers to support our gate operations during peak usage times. JBSA does in fact receive assistance from mission partners with morning traffic at some locations.

As an example, U.S. Army North provides support personnel at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and the 59th Medical Wing provides support personnel at JBSA-Lackland. These augmentees assist with opening additional traffic lanes to support morning inbound traffic.

Due to increasing and changing security threats, we do require extensive training for our security augmentees. This training is needed to meet safety and security requirements associated with operating our JBSA Entry Control Points. We do appreciate the help we receive from our current augmentees and want to say thanks to them!

Q. I have a question/suggestion for the Valley Hi Drive gate at JBSA-Lackland. I’ve realized that those people that are cleverer than the rest of us cut through the “Taqueria El Charro de Jalisco” parking lot coming from Springvale Drive into Valley Hi Drive, creating a bigger chaos now with the construction at the gate, collapsing the right flow of people through the traffic light in that intersection.

Would it be possible to talk to the owners of the restaurant and have that entry into the parking lot closed in the mornings (they still would have the access through Valley Hi Drive) at least while the gate is under construction?

A. We truly appreciate your question as gate operations and traffic flow is one of the top priorities for our Defenders across JBSA.

The Valley Hi gate, by volume, is the busiest gate within JBSA. With that said, we understand the challenges and frustration with the traffic pattern. The 802nd SFS discussed this very issue with the restaurant owners.

However, due to deliveries and customer access to their drive-through operation, the owners opted to leave that section of the parking lot open. The San Antonio Police Department agreed to monitor traffic, when available, and enforce traffic standards in an attempt to minimize traffic stacking at the intersection.