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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | July 12, 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 would like to have VIA bus service on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston during the morning and evening rush hours.

I just got back from Germany, and as you can understand, I was spoiled by the transportation infrastructure. I did note that a VIA USO Bus 16 comes on the base on weekends only. The VIA bus stops seem to be on the perimeters of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, but not on it.

The stops outside New Braunfels (Route 20), Broadway (8/9/14) and Walters (515) are okay, but it leaves a long walk to the workplace. That is not fun in June, July and August.

Fort Belvoir and Fort Meade operate on base a public bus in concert with the DC Metro as part of its regular routes. For security, while the bus is on Fort Belvoir, the non-ID cardholders have to get off the bus and wait for it to exit the base on the continuation route. The Fort Meade bus is an end destination, still only ID cardholders remain on the bus through the gate.

Perhaps, coordination could be made for a mini-bus as feeders or these buses could have established routes on/around the parade field up to Old BAMC.

A. Thank you for your question about VIA bus service on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. Our 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron partners with VIA and continuously works to improve the bus services on our installation.

At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, the weekend bus you observed is known as the JBSA Express Service with limited stops connecting JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and the RiverCenter USO. This service is restricted to Department of Defense ID cardholders as the only off-base stop is the USO. This service is limited to the weekends as the large student population provides a reasonable level of ridership for VIA to justify the route.

This is why the stops are located near recreation facilities and dormitories, but not the main work centers. Unfortunately, the limited demand for bus support during the weekdays, combined with the restricted base access for non-ID cardholders limits weekday service as the buses need to be open to the public to properly serve the large area in which JBSA employees reside in the San Antonio area.

Another complicating factor is that the military-provided shuttle buses that operate to move employees, students, and temporary duty personnel between work facilities and lodging are not authorized to augment employee travel to and from work.

The good news is JBSA has a very robust JBSA Rideshare program – the second largest in the DOD – that links DOD employees and military members with vanpools at no cost to eligible participants.

A Rideshare representative helps link the rider with a van in their area, and the rider is provided a debit card to pay their portion of the van’s rental/fuel and insurance costs. Each van helps take 5-6 other vehicles off the road each day saving participants wear and tear on their personal vehicles, and reducing traffic and gate congestion while helping reduce the negative impact to our environment.

For more information click on the JBSA Ride Share link located at the bottom right of the JBSA.mil page under “Community Support.”

Installation and Facilities

Q. Do you know what the immediate and long-term plan is for the condemned old housing on JBSA-Medina Annex? I noticed over this last year that I’ve lived on base that the foliage and weeds that were seemingly kept trimmed and under control are now taking over the roads, houses, and soon, the fences.

Not only is it an eyesore, but it is ripe for wild animals (we have several on base) to make their habitat. Once that happens on a large scale, I believe the environmental folks get involved if you try to cut it all down.

The weeds that were under three to four inches in June 2018 are now easily three feet tall, at least from my guess at a distance. Anyhow, just wondering what the plan is, as I feel it can’t be just be ignored.

A. Thank you for the question. The property mentioned is owned and managed by Balfour Beatty Communities, or BBC. Our Civil Engineer team has been communicating our concerns and challenges with the site’s maintenance. BBC has agreed to mow the perimeter of the homes and maintain grass heights.

As for long-term disposition, the Air Force has identified these homes for demolition. Per the partnership agreement with BBC, the demolition will be planned and budgeted at a later date, but the timing has not yet been determined. CE will continue to monitor the site and lead discussions with BBC on expediting the effort if possible.

Q. Blackouts happen – as they did June 9 with the stormy weather. It is a bummer, but we deal with it.

However, I have lived in my home at JBSA-Medina for a year now and have had maybe three to four months of that time with our street lights lit.

I realize there are various reasons why they may be out for a time now and then for repairs or maintenance, but when I drive the entire JBSA-Medina area to get to my home and find that our stretch of the block on Clay Loop is consistently the ONLY stretch without street lights on a consistent basis, I find it troubling.

The stretch that has been blacked out most of the year is from the mailboxes on Clay Loop (midway between the two Maysey intersections) down to the cross-section where Maysey’s cul-de-sac is (near 700 Clay Loop). Can someone look into why our street lights are nearly never on and work to have them on like the rest of JBSA-Medina’s housing area?

A. Thank you for the question as we recognize that street lighting is an important factor to the safety and security of our communities. Street lighting in our privatized housing on JBSA-Lackland is owned and maintained by Belfour Beatty Community, or BBC.

BBC has a current process to conduct monthly lighting checks across their property, as well as after any significant weather event, and then will prioritize and schedule repairs.

For your specific concern, our CE-led housing team will address with BBC to resolve the issue quickly.

If you identify any further lighting issues in housing, please notify BBC, or contact the CE housing office, which is there to assist with resident issues.

Q. The grounds of the new, abstract flying display at the corner of Highway 90 and Military Drive are in dire need of maintenance. Every workday evening, I drive by the display and am dismayed that this expensive and impressive work of art is being overshadowed by weeds, dry grass patches, overgrown grass, tree offshoots and complete dishevelment.

If JBSA-Lackland is the “Gateway to the Air Force,” then this display at the forefront of Military Drive should be impeccable, just as the JBSA-Lackland mission.

Also note, this is not due to recent rains, the area has been in this state – and getting worse – going on three weeks.

A. Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. The monument on Military Drive is actually a City of San Antonio, or CoSA. built and maintained property.

We reached out to CoSA and received an update on their plan to reseed certain areas, adjust irrigation intervals and begin mowing to the eight-inch level to try and keep the area looking a little more maintained.

Please continue to provide feedback on those areas where JBSA and Military City USA share a united goal of honoring the men and women of the Armed Forces.

Miscellaneous
Q. My question is regarding the policies for repairs needed on government vehicles, or GOVs.

Our section’s GOV has had many problems with one of the tires recently and when I called over there this last time to see when we could bring it in, I was informed that I would need to take the tire off myself and bring it over to them to be repaired.

Coming from Air Force installations in other states and also originally working at JBSA-Randolph before moving to JBSA-Lackland, I found that very odd since I have never been told this before.

After conversing with employees from other sections here at the CE building, I found this is a common occurrence for JBSA-Lackland’s Logistics Readiness Squadron office to tell people, with a few people commenting that it “depends on who you speak to.”

Can we please get this cleared up? Is this an actual Air Force Instruction policy or is this just their own policy they came up with?

A. The LRS Vehicle Management Flight appreciates this feedback! We understand the frustration that unstandardized process can cause. Customer service is our top priority and we will continue to strive to ensure that our processes are standard across Joint Base San Antonio.

AFI 23-203 Vehicle Management is the guiding publication for JBSA’s vehicle management. In paragraph 3.19.1.4, it states that it is the operator’s responsibility to maintain and change tires. This includes changing the tire to its spare and bringing the problem tire in for repair or replacement.

Operator maintenance actions like this play a critical role towards our fleet health. It allows our mechanics to focus on the specialized maintenance actions like body work or engine repair instead of common maintenance actions. This time saved goes a long way in maintaining JBSA’s 2,000-vehicle fleet.

Vehicle management can provide assistance and equipment to the operator in situations where a vehicle does not have a spare tire or proper equipment, a vehicle has oversized tires, or the operator is not knowledgeable on changing a tire. Thanks again for the question.

Q. Any chance of getting a larger U.S. flag in front of the Taj at JBSA-Randolph? I think it would look great!

A. Thank you for your question. According to AFI 34-1201, there are two primary factors involved when considering what US flag to fly on an installation’s stationary flagstaff; the type of flag and height of the staff. Installations are authorized to display two types of flags.

The Installation Flag, which is currently being flown in front of the Taj, measures 8-by-17 feet, and is typically flown at Air Force installations. Alternatively, there is the Garrison Flag, which is much larger at 20-by-38 feet.

The Garrison Flag is designated to be flown on holidays and special occasions, but may be substituted with the Installation Flag.

The second factor is the height of the flagstaff. Air Force installations typically use 50-foot flagstaffs, which accommodate an Installation Flag. While the flagstaff in front of the Taj is 100 feet tall, which accommodates flags as large as the Garrison type, JBSA-Randolph typically flies the flag flown at other bases, which is the Installation Flag. That said, we’ll be sure to fly our Garrison Flag during holidays and special occasions.

Q. The American Legion is the largest veteran’s organization in the world and is a 501(c) non-profit. Our four pillars – Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism and Children and Youth are as relevant today as when our organization was founded in 1919.

Our Post, Audie L. Murphy No. 336, has donated to the JBSA Annual Awards program, Ops JET and Fisher House. We are “Veterans Still Serving America.”

We had previously been allowed to schedule information booths and passed out poppies outside of the commissary … a tradition. This past year we have not been allowed to do this. Can you please explain why after we’ve had this partnership and will this be corrected?

A. First, thank you for the work your organization performs! We apologize your request was denied this year, but unfortunately the regulations on fundraising changed in October 2018.

Air Force Instruction 36-3101, Fundraising, which previously allowed these activities, was revised and removed the installation commander’s authority to allow external non-federal entities, or NFEs, like yours to hold fundraisers on base like your traditional annual poppy sales.

Specifically, the revision includes a provision that explicitly prohibits logistical support to non-federal entities when the proposed event is for the organization’s fundraising or membership efforts, unless the NFE is an approved private organization.  

You may apply to become a JBSA-approved private organization so that your wonderful organization may be allowed to continue their great efforts at designated locations on base.

Please visit the 502nd Force Support Squadron Private Organizations website at https://jbsatoday.com/PrivateOrganizations. There you will find the application instructions needed to apply. Keep up the great work and thank you for all that you do!