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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Aug. 16, 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.

Mold Issues

Q. Thank you for the statement you made expressing concerns for the Airmen and staff at Joint Base San Antonio.

I recently separated from the Air Force in May 2019 after going to Basic Military Training in March 2019. While at training, I fell ill after getting some procedures done at Brooke Army Medical Center and almost blamed the procedure for my falling ill.

The doctor said I may be allergic to the pollen in San Antonio or to the ragweed and the spores of the mold that’s around the base.

If there is mold, why isn’t there an investigation because I know mold can be very dangerous. The following day I was sent to the Reid Clinic to do a checkup. There, my wingman decided to do a checkup because she too had a bad cough. The doctors there checked her out and diagnosed her with some respiratory.

We conversed a bit between the two of us and came up with the same conclusion that it was mold affecting us. To make matters worse, the dorm we had just moved into had blocked toilets and bubbling black water and smelly stuff coming from a hole in the floor.

If we want to be the world’s greatest Air Force, we need to take care of our fellow men and women. Having mold where we sleep and train is not acceptable and is very discouraging to us out there who want to enlist or reenlist into the Air Force/Armed Forces to defend this great nation.

A. Thank you very much for bringing me your concerns about the dormitories on Joint Base San Antonio and for sharing your health concerns with me. The health and wellness of all personnel on Joint Base San Antonio is my top priority.

Mold in living facilities is unacceptable. At any time, if anyone is experiencing any health issues, I encourage you to go to sick call and/or visit your heath provider. Our team is doing everything we can to address this issue.

Mold remediation guidelines are being utilized by our teams who have been instructed on the proper selection and use of personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe.

As we move into the next phase of infrastructure assessment at Joint Base San Antonio, we plan to thoroughly evaluate community support facilities and workplaces just as we have the dormitories. Please know that we are committed to the health and safety of our personnel and are taking the necessary precautions.

Q. Dear commander, you are in a bit of a pickle. I am sure a lot of base building work was done before your time.

I am a 70-year-old retired architect who practiced architecture (design, engineering, construction in many building types, including billeting quarters, as well as the historic restoration of the Lt. Eisenhower BQ at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston).

Do your buildings have exterior walls with 1 ½ inch air space cavity in them with a vapor seal so moisture evaporates? Now with your HVAC units, are they running in the hallway ceilings and are they sweating? Respectfully, good luck commander.

A. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this issue, as well as for your years of service to our country. I share your concerns for the well-being of our workforce, and assure you we are doing everything in our power to ensure their safety, both for our dorm residents as well as for the teams assessing and addressing the issues.

We have taken measures to relocate occupants from rooms where there were initially assessed concerns. We are completing follow-on inspections conducted by CE Environmental craftsmen, bioenvironmental, and leadership representatives who are working their way through the rooms.

Included in this assessment is determination of root causes as well as assessment of any suspected mold. Thankfully there have been no instances of black mold identified. We have identified instances where HVAC, exhaust fans and plumbing has been a root cause, and CE is taking actions to address these issues.

Regarding facility designs, JBSA has 77 dormitories of a wide variety of age, design and construction methodology which have absolutely presented challenges to our Civil Engineers who strive maintain these facilities to support our wide variety of missions here at JBSA.  

Thank you again for your advice as well as words of encouragement.

Personnel Issues

Q. Six years ago, my wife retired after 35 years of Department of Defense civil service at JBSA-Randolph.

Back then, certain Air Force employees were allowed to create work-related Facebook pages from their CAC-secured work computers.

We have tried to delete/deactivate the page but cannot since it was tied to the CAC login. Facebook does not answer our requests for help. I think this should be considered a cyber security risk. People still post and comment on the page but my wife cannot access the admin functions.

If this is a problem with one person, then I must assume there are other similar Facebook accounts that make DOD more susceptible to hackers. Who can we contact to resolve this issue?

A. First and foremost, we appreciate your wife’s service and hope she is enjoying retirement.

We request that you please send a follow up email to our Public Affairs Team at RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil and include the name of the page as well as some context regarding its intended use. This allows us to better understand any potential liabilities and work with our contacts at Facebook to voice any concerns and to get this issue resolved.

For all other readers serving and working at JBSA, if you have an interest in standing up an official social media page, please make sure to first contact the host installation public affairs team. Pending review, approval, further training and registration, we can ensure that the page is effectively managed and receives a return on investment. For more information, you can contact our PA office at 210-652-4410.

Q. I was under the impression that part of the joint basing objective was to provide the same services and/or the main services at each main location so that military, family, and DOD members.

Why did CPTS remove DTS services from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Randolph? There are no DTS Lead Defense Travel Administrators (LDTAs) at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston or JBSA-Randolph to assist the Organizational Defense Travel Administrators (ODTAs), military, and DOD members.

There used to be one at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, but they removed the person and sent them to JBSA-Lackland. As the ODTAs, we are supposed to contact them for assistance prior to calling the DTS helpdesk.

The CPTS LDTAs want you to use their workflow box, which I do, but some questions are simple and need an immediate answer. The majority of the time I send a ticket to the DTS helpdesk because I can get an answer from them faster than from my local office but when I do call the Lackland office the line just rings.

This is the second time I am submitting this issue, with the first time through ICE. Please place at least one DTS LDTA or have a military member that can provide the same service of the LDTA at each location. Thank you for your consideration.

A. Thank you for your question. We strive to provide a representative for all of our CPTS services and we have ensured many of our services (military pay and civilian pay) are provided at each location to ensure DOD members and dependents can utilize the operating location most convenient for them.

While providing a physical body at each location is ideal, manning reductions have forced us to make calculated trade-offs. The good news is these trade-offs have forced us to seek efficiencies through centralized operations and the use of technology.

You are correct, all CPTS Lead Defense Travel Administrators (LDTAs) are located at Lackland in order to centralize DTS operations and streamline communications with Organizational Defense Travel Administrators (ODTAs). The centralization was necessary to ensure our LDTAs were absolutely synchronized and assisted us in managing DTS voucher workload queries.

Centralization actually allows the LDTAs to pool their talent to improve products to customers. CPTS provides customer service to ODTAs, and thus customers, through a myriad of communication channels. The DTS team conducts visits for each organization and provides mass trainings.

Additionally, we are developing a SharePoint site that enables ODTAs to conduct research and review training to ensure the best customer service experience for those they serve. ODTAs can also send questions to the DTS organization box: 502CPTS.FMF.JBSADTS@us.af.mil or as mentioned through ICE.

Unfortunately, some of the frustration may be generated from our current phone capabilities. We have limited phone capabilities while we revamp phone tree connecting options, to include, adapting a voicemail system so customers are not disconnected. The DTS organization box is very responsive and so are the ICE comments. Any ICE comment that requests a reply will receive one.

Thank you for your comments and patience as we seek to maximize technologies to improve services across the Joint Base San Antonio footprint.

Installation & Facilities

Q. Why is the self-help/U-Fix-It store at JBSA-Lackland civil engineers closed for “Admin” each day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.? Most facility managers need to run errands to utilize the services provided by the U-Fix-It store and closing completely through the lunch hour is the worst possible time. I would like to know if this could be looked into.

A. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. The good news is CE has been looking into this matter, and is planning to have schedules adjusted by the end of this month in order to enable the U-Fix-It store to remain open during the critical 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. time block.

Q. When driving on JBSA-Lackland on Kenley Drive, coming from the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center towards Truemper Street, it is always confusing as to which lane I should be in to turn right, left, or go straight at the intersection of Kenley Drive and Truemper Street. There are no signs until you are right at the intersection, and by that time it is too late to change lanes.

It is a very busy intersection and cars are usually lined up a ways back. Could some large arrows be painted onto the road or could signs be posted farther back to point out which direction each lane goes at the intersection? I am sure I am not the only one that gets confused.

A. Thank you for bring this traffic concern to our attention. We understand why drivers can get confused when approaching Truemper Street from Kenly Avenue, especially with all of the visitors that come to JBSA-Lackland.

CE will be adding additional pavement markings (arrows) and signage which will be located about 250 feet before the intersection. As we surveyed the area and compared against traffic standards, we also noticed that a pavement marker was missing just before the intersection, we will be adding pavement arrows at that location as well. This work should be accomplished by mid-September.

Thank you for your commitment to keeping JBSA safe!

Q. As a child, I used to love going to the ponds at the golf course to fish. However, the lily pads and the moss have taken over those ponds and it’s pretty much impossible to fish there anymore. Is there any way to remove all those lily pads and clean up those ponds to make them family-friendly and “fishable”?

A. Thank you for your question. The ponds at the golf course were designed as part of a stormwater system and unfortunately, we’re aren’t able to remove the lily pads. These ponds are used to hold and distribute rain runoff slowly, which in turn helps prevents flooding.

When stormwater runoff flows into the retention pond, the ponds may accumulate sediment, bacteria and other materials from roadways and yards. The vegetation, to include the lily pads, helps provide a natural filter, and as such, previous efforts targeted for reduction of vegetation were disapproved due to environmental considerations.

Additionally, as a safety precaution, consumption of any fish in the pond or contact with the water is not recommended.

Miscellaneous

Q. I have recently been reassigned form JBSA-Lackland to JBSA-Randolph after being there for less than a year. After purchasing my home, I was unexpectedly reassigned. My new commute is 75 miles per day.

When I notified my chain of command of potential hardships that this move would cause, the reciprocation I received was that my situation was no different than the officers in my squadron. Unfortunately, I do not have the additional disposal income as the officers I am being correlated to.

At this current time, I am having issues with the adjustments to meet the requirements effectively as this increases my monthly expenses by a substantial amount. Are there any additional resources such as a GOV that can be used from base to base or daily commuter available for this situation?

A. Thank you very much for your question. I am very sorry to learn about the hardship associated with your commute. All JBSA military and civil service employees are authorized use of the 502nd LRS, Vehicle Operations, You Drive it (UDI) fleet for official travel on and between JBSA installations.

Unfortunately, government vehicles are not authorized for travel between your home and place of duty, in accordance with Air Force Instruction 24-306 and AFI 24-301.

However, 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 (https://jbsa.dod.afpims.mil/Resources/JBSA-Ride-Share/) located at the bottom right of the JBSA.mil page under Community Support.