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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | May 24, 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. I read the Feedback Fridays for March 8, and there was a concern regarding the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Base Exchange pharmacy wait times. 

I returned from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, approximately two years ago, and the pharmacy had placed a kiosk in the BX complex similar to an ATM for prescription pickup. There were restrictions for liquids, large box items, etc., but the machine was available 24/7, if desired. 

Since the San Antonio area is so heavily populated with retirees and active duty, this may be something worth exploring within the entire JBSA community.

A. Thank you for sharing your positive experience using a medication dispensing kiosk while stationed at Ramstein Air Base.

We spoke with our partners in the 59th Medical Wing, and they are continuing to assess technology advancements that can provide more convenient pharmacy options for our beneficiaries in the JBSA community.

As they consider incorporating the capability of an automated dispensing kiosk, there are factors to consider such as accessibility, location, medication dispensing limitations, and the overall acquisition process.

We will continue to provide updates regarding the status of a kiosk, but in the interim we would like to share all pharmacy options available to ensure beneficiaries are able to get the prescriptions they need in a timely manner.

To reduce your wait time, call in all refills in advance at 210-292-9995 and select a pickup location from one of the 15 locations available.

·         Log on to TRICARE Patient Portal Rx Refill for advance electronic refill ordering at all locations.

·         Sign up for TRICARE Home Delivery Pharmacy Program to have your medication sent directly to your home (a co-pay may be required).

·         E-prescribing allows your provider to send your prescription electronically to the pharmacy of your choice:

-          Your local military pharmacy

-          TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery by selecting Express Scripts Mail Pharmacy (a co-pay may be required)

-          Network retail pharmacy (a co-pay may be required)

Q. What is the Air Force or Department of Defense policy for service dogs at work and on base? Are there any requirements or documentation needed for a service dog to accompany an employee to work and base facilities? Where can I find this guidance?

A. Very good question. Service dogs generally must be allowed to accompany their handler into installation facilities that are considered public or unrestricted.

For civilians and military members having a medical condition requiring the assistance of a service dog to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual’s disability, service dogs generally are also allowed with approval from their chain of command.

Members may be asked to provide medical documentation if the need for the service dog is not apparent or known. For civilian employees who ask to bring a service dog as a reasonable accommodation, supervisors should engage in deliberative discussions with the employee and grant the accommodation if it assists the employee in doing the job, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

We have granted this accommodation in several places across JBSA. In addition to medical documentation, the supervisor is entitled to inquire as to what service the dog performs for the disabled employee.

If you’d like additional guidance, please see: Air Force Instruction 36-205, Affirmative Employment Program (AEP), Special Emphasis Programs (SEPS) and Reasonable Accommodation Policy; Air Force Instruction 34-1101, Warrior and Survivor Care; Department of Defense Instruction 1300.27, Guidance on the Use of Service Dogs by Service Members; and Air Force Guidance Memorandum to AFI 32-6001, Family Housing Management.

Installation & Facilities

Q. Is there any way that we can post a sign or send out instructions on how to drive through the roundabout at JBSA-Randolph? There have been several near-miss accidents and it has become a safety hazard.

A. We are always looking for ways to increase safety on our roads. The traffic circle at JBSA-Randolph creates driving challenges not typically experienced on military bases, and certainly not found anywhere else on JBSA.

Because of this, our 502d ABW Safety Team spends time briefing the topic at each JBSA-Randolph Newcomers Orientation, and they provide unit safety reps with a visual diagram for distribution to new unit members.

Additionally, the 502d ABW Public Affairs team periodically includes reminder information in the base newspaper. But, you bring up a great point. We can absolutely do more to educate and help drivers safely navigate our roadways. So, our JBSA-Randolph Executive Agent Team will work with Public Affairs and Safety to distribute refresher information through command channels and our community information forum, include in the base newspaper and post on social media.

Our Civil Engineering team has also commissioned a traffic study to look at the traffic circle to consider any improvements or changes to signage or markings that may help.

But we shouldn’t forget, everyone who drives on JBSA-Randolph plays a critical role. Following the speed limit, adhering to stop and yield signs, and staying aware of other drivers will help everyone be safer.

Q. After the JBSA-Randolph Main Gate construction, what is the timeline for the rest of the gate construction?

A. Thank you for your question. JBSA was very fortunate to get some much needed funding in FY18 to improve multiple entry control points across all bases. These projects were specifically to provide security upgrades through additional speed humps, bollards and tiger teeth.

We have three more projects like the one completed at the Randolph main gate postured for end of year funding for FY19; however, in the current fiscal environment we are not certain we will receive those funds. Those three projects are targeted for other locations in JBSA and not specifically JBSA-Randolph.

We do, however, plan to continue improvements in FY20 to active vehicle barriers at the JBSA-Randolph main gate. As always, we will strive to minimize future impacts at our already heavily burdened entry control points, to include being sure to advertise any gate projects early and often.

Q. Last year, we were informed that the Force Support Squadron would recertify the running tracks for PT tests. Is there an estimated timeframe when this will be completed?

A. Thank you for your question. We appreciate your interest in the health and fitness of our joint personnel.

The track recertification effort is an Air Force initiative which we formally completed in September 2018 with the support of the FSS, CE and Safety teams. JBSA-wide, a total of 15 running tracks and one road course was certified through a process that ensured proper measurements and conditions. This includes 10 tracks on JBSA-Lackland, one on JBSA-Medina Annex, one track and one road course on JBSA-Randolph, and three tracks on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Unit PTLs should coordinate with the FSS to ensure the courses they are using for tests are one of the many certified courses.

Q. Why do we have to be on the Army network as U.S. Air Force personnel at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston? It seems our Air Force systems and sites (e.g. MilPDS) do not work correctly with Army networks. Are there any plans to improve compatibility? In the meantime, what are the recommended workarounds?

A. What a great question, and one that I’m sure many others on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston have often wondered.

The joint base governance, which applies to all services, says that on the location where the supported component (in this case the Army) is not the lead agency, the network and desktop systems remain the responsibility of the Supported component.

This means the Army is still responsible for the network, desktop system management, and all associated services on FSH.

Think about how many Army personnel work at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. It would be very disruptive to move all of them to the Air Force network and would put a large strain on the Air Force network.

We also cannot extend the Air Force network to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, because it duplicates circuit costs, vulnerability risks as well as operations and maintenance costs and in essence, doesn’t make joint basing efficient.

The good news is the 502d Communications Squadron has a great working relationship with the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Network Enterprise Center, or NEC, and has been able to solve many of the compatibility issues, including MilPDS.

If, however, you have been experiencing network latency in using some of these systems on the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston network, this is likely a result of the Department of Defense’s new security infrastructure which is being fully used at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, but has not yet been turned on at most Air Force locations.

Moreover, the Air Force has made strides in increasing its forecasting and scheduled maintenance, as it pertains to Military Personnel Systems. A majority of forecasted systems maintenance can be viewed directly on the Air Force Portal homepage, on the top left.

That being said, should you ever have any Military Personnel System concern at any of our operating locations, we have designated personnel assigned who are charged to monitor access and functionality on a daily basis.

For any immediate assistance you can contact the MPF commander at austin.barnes.1@us.af.mil or for a JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military Personnel Systems Manager, email david.a.perry16.civ@mail.mil. Thank you for highlighting the concern and affording us an opportunity to assist.