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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Nov. 8, 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 experienced a problem with the JBSA-Lackland Security Forces Center at building 1030, extension 2018. When I asked to speak to a shift supervisor, I was told there was no one to speak to and that I was calling an emergency line and the call needed to be disconnected.

I insisted on talking to a supervisor, and the individual on the line told me if I wanted to file a complaint, I would have to drive to building 1030 and do it in person.

I called the base information line and followed the prompts for Security Forces non-emergency line. It directed my call to ext. 2018, which is the number I originally called. When I told them I followed the prompt, it fell on deaf ears.

The whole incident was handled poorly and unprofessionally and I never got a name or number to call. I retired from the Air Force after 20 years as Security Policeman and I am less than impressed with this encounter with today’s Security Policemen.

Since I was not provided a forum to voice my concerns, I figured you all can relay this info to the JBSA-Lackland Security Forces command staff.

A. Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. I sincerely apologize for how your situation was handled. There is no excuse for unprofessionalism as Team JBSA and especially its Defenders pride themselves on discipline and professionalism.

The number 210-671-2018 is the correct number to reach JBSA-Lackland’s Base Defense Operations Center, and your complaint should have been received.

Depending on the type of incident you were trying to report, one of the following four responses should have occurred:

1. For emergencies, patrols would be dispatched to assist/intervene;
2. If not an emergency and patrols are available, a patrol would be sent to your location to assist you in the complaint process;
3. If not an emergency and patrols are busy, you will be asked to come in and make the complaint in person;
4. If not an emergency or time sensitive, we will take note of the complaint and handle it appropriately when time permits.

Regardless of the type of complaint, you should have been treated with respect. Our Security Forces commanders will remind their Defenders of this process and I welcome you to contact the 802d Security Forces Squadron Operations Superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. Clayton Greenwell at 210-671-7309, to bring full closure to your situation.

Installation & Facilities

Q. I wanted to bring to your attention an important concern that my wife and I encountered on our very first visit to JBSA-Randolph and believe corrective action is needed.

My wife and I just relocated from Hawaii in order to retire in the San Antonio area; both of us are retired Army Officers -- my wife, a lieutenant colonel, and myself, a colonel.

My intent on visiting your Air Force Base was to attend the base Toastmasters International Chapter meeting; however, around 11:35 a.m., we were delayed due to the Security Forces airman at the gate confiscating my wife’s retired ID card.

The Airman that confiscated the card did not provide any solution other than to say that my wife’s ID card was “terminated,” and handed us a piece of paper without any instructions on a next step.

We were then passed to a Department of Defense police officer, who moved us out of the entry lane to an area to the right, and again, offered no solution to this seizure of a perfectly operating Retiree ID Card. I say “perfectly operating” because while in Hawaii, we frequented every military base on a regular basis to work, shop, visit, or relax.

My retiree ID card worked at all military installations, but my wife’s worked on all except for Hickam Airfield. As a retired senior officer, I was appalled at the way my wife was treated, and requested a solution set from the DOD Police Officer.

Accordingly, I traveled to your 902nd Security Forces Squadron, where a very helpful master sergeant and captain offered us their apologies for the problem and explained where we needed to go on base to correct the ID card glitch.

The ID card team was extremely helpful and apologetic, and they commented that my wife’s incident was the third one today. My wife is pleased to have a new ID card, and even more pleased to leave a base where we both felt that the rules of military courtesy had been suspended.

I am well acquainted with the necessity of security, but this issue gives me cause to bring this forward.

A. Thank you for your comment and you have my sincerest apologies for your inconvenience. I know many times retired member identification cards will say they have an “indefinite” expiration; however, in certain instances, a new identification card must be reissued.

Many times, these identification cards must be renewed because the card is an older type that is not compatible with the Defense Biometric Identification System, or DBIDS, that the Department of Defense employs to vet individuals who enter installations.

Another cause is the appearance of the member’s social security number; the newly issued cards no longer show the member’s social, and when an older card is found, the member must replace it in order to maintain security of the member’s identification.

Although unfortunate circumstances brought you to our ID card team, I’m so happy to hear that they were more than accommodating for you and your wife, and that you got to walk away with new and improved ID cards!

Please continue to visit JBSA, and provide your feedback as this is what helps us become a better community and installation for everyone in Military City USA!

Q. On a Saturday afternoon, I attempted to enter JBSA-Randolph in a Yellow Cab. The driver had a DBIDS card from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and I had my CAC. The Security Forces still hesitated to let me enter because the cab driver’s DBIDS card was from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Finally after assuring the Security Forces that the cab would only be on base for about 10 minutes, the cab was allowed to enter. If the Visitor’s Center had been open, we would probably have been sent there.

In spite of all the information from Feedback Fridays, I still don’t understand this fear of cab drivers. Doesn’t a DBIDS indicate an acceptable level of security? How do delivery people get on base? If a resident of base housing wants to take a cab to a party where there will be drinking, why can’t they call a cab whose driver has a DBIDS card and then notify the Lindsey Gate that a cab is coming at a certain time?

A. Thank you very much for this great question and for setting the example of enjoying a good time responsibly!

Today, “Yellow Cab & Towne Car” is the only company contracted and sponsored by JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, meaning their vetted drivers may pick up and drop off JBSA-Fort Sam Houston families seamlessly (just ensure to tell Yellow Cab to send a driver with the “JBSA-Fort Sam Houston DBIDS credential” for both the pick-up and drop-off).

Unfortunately, this convenience doesn’t fully apply to JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph families. Yellow Cab drivers with drivers who possess the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston DBIDS credential are considered background-checked but still require an authorized credential holder (e.g., CAC) in the vehicle or a valid sponsor has a request for pick-up.

This means that base residents may likely have to meet their driver at the gate or VCC for pick-up but the ride home will match the convenience of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Fortunately, the conversation has been initiated to look into the Uber/Lyft/Yellow Cab capabilities on all three JBSA installations, so be on the lookout! I appreciate your patience and understanding with this option and will keep you and the JBSA community informed of any steps to improve this level of service.

Q. Many people have shifts that start at 6 a.m., so why do the gates wait until 6 a.m. to open? Would it be possible to open the gates other than just the main gate at 5:45 a.m. to allow people to make it to their offices by the start of their shift?

A. Thank you for question on gate hours, as gate operations and traffic flow are a top priority for our Defenders.

The biggest factors determining a gate’s accessibility and hours are traffic volume and available manpower to assign to gates. We’ve looked at opening at 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. in the past and concluded that peak morning volume begins after 6 a.m.

So to open some gates earlier comes at the cost of opening other gates later or not opening at all. By having at least one 24-hour gate at all installations, everyone with a 6 a.m. shift start has the opportunity to report on-time.

While that may be inconvenient to some, it provides a balance of security to availability for all gates given the number of Defenders we have. As traffic volumes and our manpower pool change over time, we will adjust gate hours and accessibility to maintain that balance.

Thank you for your feedback, and please continue to submit your concerns so our Defenders can stay in the know and better serve our JBSA community.

Q. There is no working water fountain at the Rambler running track complex on JBSA-Randolph. I have tried both water fountains numerous times when I have been doing PT and needed to rehydrate. This is very dangerous to not have drinking water available from the fountains. When can we get this fixed?

A. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and we apologize for the inconvenience. The great news is that our Civil Engineers have diagnosed the problem, which was a broken pipe that runs under the road and feeds the drinking fountains. CE has scheduled to do the repair next week barring any competing priorities. Thank you again and we hope to have this service restored shortly.

Q. Can you talk about the impact about the 1604 and Rocket Lane, Bexar County planned expansion outside of base?

A. Thank you for your question and interest in development around JBSA. We have been in discussions with Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, on their proposed improvement project for approximately six miles of Loop 1604, from FM-78 to I-10E, which includes the section adjacent to JBSA-Randolph.

The purpose of this project is to expand and upgrade the existing four-lane divided highway and associated infrastructure. The proposed effort targets improving traffic flow and safety along the Loop 1604 corridor and intersecting cross-streets. Part of this project would require real estate actions and at this time there have been no official decisions made. Once an agreement is reached, information will be shared with the public regarding any impacts.

Q. I noticed the other day that the lighting on the street next to the Warhawk gym on JBSA-Lackland is inadequate. People crossing the street from the Gateway Inn side are very hard to see if they are wearing dark workout clothing. I can see an unfortunate accident happening as this is a busy street in the morning.

A. Thank you for identifying this issue so we can get it addressed to improve safety for fitness center users. Our CE team discovered that approximately half of the existing lighting was out due to a faulty underground circuit. This has already been repaired and existing lighting has been restored.

CE also assessed that existing lighting may not be adequate for patrons who walk from the nearby visiting officer quarters, and as such have already engaged with CPS Energy, who now maintains base lighting for JBSA, so they will be conducting a lighting survey to help develop potential solutions.

We are looking at funding lighting improvement projects across all JBSA locations, and will consider this area for resourcing this fiscal year. Thank you for your feedback!

Q. My son is a resident in building 2, 344th Training Squadron. He has been in several different dorms in between Basic Military Training and waiting for his tech school to start.

He moved with his squadron recently to his final dorm and has voiced concerns about the mold that is present in his current living environment.

Can you please advise if these particular dorms referenced above have been inspected? Have they been previously remediated for mold and it has resurfaced, or have these dorms not been treated yet?

A. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. As many know, we had a mold problem at JBSA earlier this summer. Since then, we’ve incorporated commercial and local Civil Engineering efforts to remediate any mold or mildew concerns in our dorms, to include both of the 344th TRS dorms.

In addition, weekly dorm inspections were put in place to ensure any new mold is found and removed before it has an opportunity to become established. However, if your son has any facility concerns, we encourage him to engage with his Military Training Leader or Technical Training Instructor immediately so we can send in our CE teams to investigate and resolve the issue. Your son’s wellbeing is our primary concern.  

Miscellaneous

Q. I have a number of recommendations I’d like to make that I think would help improve the Gateway Club at JBSA-Lackland, to include reducing prices, further opening membership, more events, and selling merchandise. Would you consider making any of these changes?

A. I appreciate your feedback on how to improve our Gateway Club! Our outstanding club manager relies on input from club members like you to ensure her team is meeting the food, beverage, and hospitality needs of our JBSA-Lackland military community.  

That said, all Air Force clubs are MWR Category C activities that unfortunately receive minimal Appropriated Fund support. Based on these guidelines, the clubs are required to be financially self-sustaining and must achieve pre-established performance standards.

In order to meet these standards, the manager must employ sound business practices and weigh the cost-benefit analysis of all programs offered.  In regards to our membership fees, our JBSA club members pay monthly dues based on their military rank or civilian grade. This ensures that dues are affordable for all Airmen, regardless of their income.  

The clubs currently offer a wide variety of benefits to members which include:  10 percent off food/beverage for personnel event, $1 discount lunch/dinner/breakfast buffet, $2 discount when attending special events, $12 in monthly coupons, no room fees for catered events, check cashing privileges, quarterly member appreciation dinners, discounts on Special Events, Mother’s Say/Easter/Thanksgiving, Holiday Meals to Go Program, $10 birthday coupon, reciprocal privileges at other Air Force clubs, special occasion drawings for Members Only, and an assortment of entertainment options such as: Variety Night, Friday Nights 5-10 p.m., Special Parties (Halloween, Fiscal New Year, etc.) , live bands, DJs , etc.

The clubs send bi-monthly calendars to all members showing upcoming events and including discount coupons.  Club events are also advertised on the JBSA Today website, 502 FSS Facebook Page, marquees, and weekly emails. Our staff also attends newcomer’s orientation, and many other special events to tell the community about the many benefits and programs at the club.

Additionally, we have invested $2 million in the past few years to significantly upgrade the club ... making it one of the best venues in the Air Force to relax, recharge, socialize, and enhance resiliency. I hope to see you soon at the club!

Q. Will there be a future presence of armed security forces at large events such as CC/Director Calls? What is the security threat for large scale events at JBSA?

Unfortunately, I think the presence of security is a necessity these days and should be mandatory at all large events.

A. Thank you for asking the most important question: safety and welfare of the JBSA community and family!

At this time, there is no plan to provide any additional armed Security Forces at large events such as Commander’s Call. Large-scale events in and around JBSA are evaluated and assigned a risk value based on any known threat and identified vulnerabilities.

Your local Security Forces Squadron is responsible for mitigating known vulnerabilities to lower the risk to a manageable level and thus ensuring personnel feel safe in their environment.  Events like the Commander’s Calls happen on the military installation which already provides a higher level of security for access.

Your safety is paramount to us, so if there is a life-threatening issue, call 911. If you see suspicious behavior, call AFOSI Eagle Eyes at JBSA-Lackland at 210-672-4000, at JBSA-Randolph at 210-625-1400, or at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-925-0787 and report it.

If a security concern is reported off-installation in another jurisdiction, JBSA is connected to a Threat Information Fusion Cell, which shares local law enforcement reports, notifications, and tips with your local Defenders. Remember, you are a sensor -- if you see something say something!

Q. What is the policy for riding electric scooters/bikes on base? Some of us walk on base to get to our workplace and at times some gates close due to unforeseen circumstances and we are forced to walk to a farther gate. Thank you.

A. Thank you for inquiry concerning electric scooters and bikes on base. Electric and gas-powered skateboards, scooters and golf carts that have a platform for riders to stand on are not permitted on installation streets or sidewalks at this time.  

All persons who ride a bicycle, tricycle or other human powered vehicle, including motorized bicycles, on an Air Force installation roadway, will wear highly visible outer garment containing reflective material during hours of darkness and reduced visibility and wear a properly fastened approved bicycle helmet.

All bicycles will be equipped with front-facing, pedal, side and a rear-facing reflectors consistent with local or state requirements. For additional information, reference AFI 91-201, Air Force Traffic Safety Program.

Q. Is it possible to change/add a policy to allow military members who have a license to carry to have a firearm securely stored in their vehicle? I have been to other installations that allow this privilege (MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, etc.). I’m not concerned about on-base safety or anything, but the moment you drive out the gate you are at risk for any number of circumstances that could threaten one’s safety.

San Antonio is full of gang-related activity, as well as general road rage incidents. I think allowing licensed members to bring a weapon in their car would be a great Quality of Life improvement for those who have demonstrated the proper safety and maturity to be a licensed handgun carrier.

Additionally, I remember seeing a policy from the Air Force Chief of Staff that mentioned at the top AF level having weapons on base is allowed, but delegated to the installation commanders.

Residents on base are allowed to securely store weapons in their residence. In Texas, your vehicle is considered an extension of your home and you don’t even need a license to carry a concealed weapon in a vehicle.

Maybe a better description of my request would be to transport a firearm in a vehicle in a non-firing condition, ammo in one compartment and weapon in another.

A. Thank you for your concern. Security is a top priority, and as the Installation Commander, I am carefully considering this matter. Restricting firearms carry to our Security Forces gives our Defenders an important advantage over anyone who means us harm, and provides confidence to our diverse population that they can move freely and safely while on-base.

However, I’ve asked our Security Forces Group to develop options which could allow limited LEOSA arming on-base. Due to the unique construct of JBSA and its vast amount of mission partners and sister service residents, this is not a simple issue to resolve and not one that should be decided by only one command.

It is incumbent that we also address this issue with our sister service commanders to ensure their opinions and concerns are weighed into my ultimate decision. I will be sure to share any updates if the current policy preventing concealed carry of a privately owned firearm is changed.

Q. I have recently been told JBSA-Lackland Recycling Center will no longer accept shredded paper. Is this true? If so, that is extremely disconcerting when the overall impact is considered. Is there no alternative besides filling up dumpsters and landfills with a product that is ideal for recycling?

A. Thank you for your question regarding recycling. In 2017, China, the major importer of global recyclables, established stringent standards which drastically limited the amount of contamination permissible in their recycling imports.

These strict standards went into effect in March 2018 and led to a serious worldwide downturn in recyclable prices, causing programs around the globe to change their recycling strategies.

One such change is that shredded paper now must be of a certain size cut in order to be recyclable. The JBSA Qualified Recycling Program, or QRP, uses a commercial shredder that shreds the paper to the appropriate size; however, when our customers use non-commercial shredders such as those in their offices and homes, the paper becomes like confetti, which can’t be baled.

In the current recyclable commodity climate, buyers will only pay for shredded paper that is baled. As a result, the JBSA QRP is now asking its customers not to do their own shredding, but instead, to allow the JBSA recycling team to shred their paper with our commercial shredder. This will keep the shredded paper out of the landfill. The properly shredded paper can be baled and sold, resulting in revenue which can be used to pay the QRP operating costs.

For any further questions, please contact Alvin Brown from the CE Environmental Management office at 210-652-4668.