JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
The Air Education and Training Command team got a firsthand look at the 502nd Air Base Wing's unique mission across the joint base Sept. 26 and 27, 2019.
Accompanied by their spouses, Mrs. Dawna Webb and Mr. Robb Gudgel, Lt. Gen. Brad Webb and Chief Master Sgt. Juliet Gudgel spent two days touring the various installations across Joint Base San Antonio to learn about the 502nd Air Base Wing's mission of delivering unrivaled installation support and services to 266 mission partners across Joint Base San Antonio.
On the first day of his trip, Webb visited the Navy Medical Training Campus dormitory at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, learning about plans for dorm renovations, as well as Navy traditions.
"In addition to calling our dorms 'ships,' we also practice traditional Navy customs and courtesies in our daily operations," said Navy Lt. LaMount Simmons, Navy Medicine Training Support Center facilities manager.
"Because of how quickly our medics graduate training and move on to the fleet, we found this beneficial in preparing them for a non-training environment. In the same light, our Sailors are trained to take ownership and get ahead of potential problems on the ships."
Additionally, Sailors are trained in handling basic infrastructure challenges in the dorms, such as what to do if a pipe bursts.
"We teach them to be cognizant of what is happening around them before the situation gets out of control -- every sailor is a basic fire fighter, and damage control is what we do," Simmons added.
After disembarking the "ship," the AETC command team visited the 502nd Joint Personnel Processing Center, responsible for handling all personnel actions for Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and civilians.
During the stop, Webb and Gudgel met with the 502nd ABW civilian personnel flight to learn about how Strategic Workforce Planning for the entire Air Force was piloted at JBSA.
The focus of the Strategic Workforce Planning program is to ensure smart hiring decisions are made, and help organizations identify where there are gaps in civilian manning. Additionally, the team looks to developing the Air Force of the future, considering what structure in the future would be necessary to support JBSA and its mission partners.
"The Strategic Workforce Plan is special because it highlights what we can control and improve in the Civilian hiring and onboarding process" said Patricia Nichols, 502nd Force Support Squadron civilian personnel flight chief. "The team determined where roadblocks and barriers were and helped us mitigate those challenges."
"The team has moved mountains in regard to civilian hiring," Nichols added. "Because of their work and in collaboration with the Air Force Personnel Center, we are able to utilize direct hiring for our civil engineer team. We are also able to streamline the hiring process, allowing for new hires to join our team much quicker than through the traditional process."
"The civilian personnel team has been key in helping JBSA become an employer of choice, helping us retain, as well as attract, new employees with incentives such as raised pay and larger leave allowances," said Brig. Gen Laura Lenderman, 502nd ABW and JBSA commander.
"The JPCC team is fantastic at what they do and we are proud to have them on our team" said Webb, reflecting on the multitude of personnel actions the 502nd team conducts across the joint base. "It really is impressive to see how well they support the joint community here and their families."
In addition to re-inventing professional hiring and expanding opportunities for growth, the wing is developing innovative initiatives to help retain the workforce.
"Across the Air Force, and especially here in San Antonio, it is crucial we recapitalize our civilian force," Webb said. "When I took command, I discussed what it would take to defeat an enemy -- that our Airmen must be able to out-think, out-perform, out-partner, and out-innovate any potential adversary. This wing supports many units that train Joint servicemen and women, and they are driving innovative processes to grow and develop our civilian force who provide a wealth of knowledge to the team."
One of the final stops on the AETC command team's two-day visit was to the 502nd Operational Support Squadron air traffic control tower to learn about the impact JBSA-Kelly Field has on the Joint Force and the city of San Antonio.
JBSA-Kelly Field is home to the Port of San Antonio, which supports large private companies, in addition to providing $5 billion of support to the local economy. JBSA-Kelly Field also supports the Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing formal training unit, home to 16 percent of active duty and ANG F-16 Fighting Falcon training. Additionally, JBSA-Kelly Field is home to Air Force Reserve Command's 433rd Airlift Wing, which supports the Air Force's only C-5M Galaxy II Formal Training Unit.
"The team here at JBSA-Kelly Field greatly enables rapid global mobility and enhances lethality for our Air Force," Webb said. "They are also key in supporting regional and contingency taskings like humanitarian relief efforts."
Webb and Gudgel departed JBSA with a thank you and an encouraging message.
“Thank you for the past two days. We are fortunate at AETC to be supported by JBSA and our daily interactions with the civilian workforce and the Joint servicemen and women who enable the mission partners who depend on you."