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Home : News : News
JBSA News
NEWS | Jan. 13, 2020

Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman 502d Air Base Wing Commander

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. Is there any way that private organizations can advertise their various organizations and what they do here at Joint Base San Antonio? We used to be able to advertise on the base marquee at JBSA-Randolph and were told that we could no longer do that, nor can we advertise our private organizations in the base newspaper.

Is it possible to have a private organization day quarterly or semi-annually at JBSA, such as a public, on-base event where all of the various private organizations could gather at each of the JBSA bases and set up tables and talk about what their various private organizations do? Can we also gain access to the base newspaper periodically and list all of the private organizations on base?

Many of the private organizations do a lot of good at JBSA and it would be nice if we could get the word out to all of JBSA as to what each organization does and how to get ahold of them. I bet there are many people who would like to join private organizations at JBSA if they but only knew how to contact them and find out exactly what each of them did.

I also realize that private organizations can list themselves on the JBSA Facebook page, but there are a lot of people who shy away from Facebook, and Facebook can be very impersonal.

A. We appreciate your inquiry into Private Organizations, or PO. Air Force Instruction 34-223, Private Organizations, governs all POs, and unfortunately the use of government systems such as email is extremely limited.  

Official communication systems may not be used to advertise PO fundraisers and membership events. However, official government systems may be used to announce guest speakers at a meeting or general membership meeting; this is not to be confused with a membership drive which is prohibited.

Options for advertising are spreading the word informally through other POs, purchasing ads in the base newspaper, JBSA Today magazine, posting advertising where all public notices are allowed such as a general notice bulletin board at the discretion of the facility.

POs may contact the Public Affairs Office for more information in regards to their advertising limitations. Our team is researching the possibly of quarterly or semi-annual private organization day at JBSA to inform the community of the resources available.

For additional guidance on POs, please contact the JBSA private organization coordinators at 210-671-6044 for JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, or 210-671-6042 for JBSA-Lackland.

Q. I find it frustrating that that the JBSA-Lackland Youth Center does not advertise its events in a manner that makes it possible for the majority of students, especially high schoolers who do not attend the school on base, to see what is available to them.

The youth center has social media which highlights past events, and in the JBSA magazine and posters only one or two events (typically targeting children which are middle-school or younger) are posted. The funds are there, and the facility and staff are more than capable of advertising programs but they do not.

Currently the only way to know what is available to high schoolers is to go in the main building during their hours of availability, sign in, hope that they have a calendar or schedule printed and pray that what is advertised actually happens.

There needs to be more advertising outside of the building. The events advertised should happen regardless of the amount of kids who show interest or show up. The clubs and events available to teenagers, need to be emphasized outside of the building and the on-base school. The JBSA magazine has a page for youth center activities that needs to be used to promote trips and in-house events.

A. Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding JBSA-Lackland Youth Program’s marketing and advertising of special events for the pre-teen and teen population. We will step up our advertising efforts.

Currently, JBSA-Lackland Youth Programs provide an in-house monthly preteen and teen calendar of events that includes programming in the areas of leadership clubs, fitness time, life skills, fine arts and education opportunities. We have an established relationship with Lackland Independent School District and should be able to promote events through these channels as well.

The JBSA-Lackland Child and Youth Services School Liaison will work with ISDs off the installation to provide marketing materials for all the Youth Program Clubs, 4-H Events, instructional classes and any other programs that are offered to youth of all ages.

We are also actively working with our marketing department to ensure the Youth Programs website and Facebook pages are up to date with all current program marketing. The JBSA Today magazine promotes the Lackland Youth Programs large in house events and family events.

Unfortunately, there is limited space in the JBSA Today magazine, so all in-house, day-to-day afterschool preteen/teen program opportunities cannot be advertised. With all of those methods in place, be on the lookout for a monthly email containing the upcoming month’s calendar of events!

Installation & Facilities

Q. I live on JBSA-Randolph, and one night I went to the gym at approximately 6 p.m. with my two boys and a neighbor. Our intent was to use the basketball court and practice on their basketball skills as they all attend JBSA-Randolph schools and are involved in school sports.

The fitness center apparently changed their system and my previously registered Common Access Card was unable to give us access. Once we managed to get inside, we were told that people were being turned away. I entered the gym with the kids with all of our military-issued ID cards, and we were immediately confronted by an off-duty fitness center employee, who politely told me that children under 18 who do not have a CAC are unauthorized to enter the facility and we would need to leave. I thanked them and we left.

The kids were disappointed because they wanted to work on their basketball drills. I recalled a court a few blocks away near the dining facility. We arrived at the court and turned on the lights, but they were not directed correctly to illuminate the court, and are in need of being replaced as 1/2 of them did not work.

I am an active duty officer and abide by the rules set out, regardless if I agree with them or not, and I understand that the Fitness Center has a policy regarding after-hours gym use. I humbly request a re-evaluation of this policy regarding the use of the gym as it does not, in my opinion, address the needs of JBSA-Randolph families. If the policy will not change, I request that the outdoor court be appropriately illuminated so that we can safely use the court.

A. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. The 502nd Force Support Squadron is reviewing our current 24-access guidelines to ensure we meet the needs of our community while maintaining the safety and security of our facilities and its patrons. I will provide you with our way ahead by early next month.

Please reach out directly to my Force Support Group Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Rahsul Freeman at rahsul.j.freeman.mil@mail.mil, who can provide interim updates.

Additionally, thank you for bringing the inoperable outdoor basketball court lights to our attention. CE electricians investigated the situation and have since repaired the lights and ensured they are aimed properly to provide adequate lighting to the outdoor courts.

Q. Several people object to putting Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, paper in bins for the commercial shredder because people (working at the recycling center) go through the bins checking the paper before recycling, which makes the process lack appropriate security. Is this true or an urban legend?

A. Thank you for your question as well as for your support of JBSA’s recycling program. Our recycling team checks the PII bins in order to separate non-recyclable items from the recyclables. This is necessary due to recycling contamination that regularly occurs.

Although the blue and grey lockable bins are for Privacy Act/PII documents only, some members discard non-PII documents and materials in the PII bins. Some of the items that are filtered out include: plastic, glass, magazines, newspapers, post-it notes, binders, binder clips, document protectors, carbon paper, food-soiled paper, food scraps, candy wrappers, hazardous waste, and even biohazardous waste, to name a few. Not only are most of these items non-recyclable, but they can also damage recycling equipment, seriously harm our recycling team members, or can ruin otherwise good recyclable paper, which results in the material having to be destroyed instead.

Rest assured, our Qualified Recycling Program team members, along with all other document destruction-related facilities and equipment, must comply with all federal and state PII handling and destruction laws, and our recycling staff receives training in this regard.

As an added measure of security, if a customer would prefer, they are welcome to bring their PII/Privacy Act documents directly to one of the three JBSA recycling centers and witness the shredding of their particular documents.

Q. A notice was recently placed on the front door at the JBSA-Medina Annex Gym that effective Jan. 1, the Medina Gym would be closing on weekends, but no one knows why. There was even talk that Medina Gym may be closing permanently or open only two or three days a week effective year 2020.

If Services would have taken surveys from customers or even attendance records, I’m sure it would show that Medina Gym is the most used gym at JBSA-Lackland. If Services is bound and determined to close a gym for what every reason, I would suggest they close one at main base JBSA-Lackland since there are three gyms open.

Closing the Medina Gym on the weekends would put additional burden on Security Forces concerning traffic issues since visitors are here for basic trainee graduations, gate closure on weekends, to force all personnel at Medina to go to main base on the weekend.

Also, trainees living at JBSA-Medina does not have privately owned vehicles available to them to drive to main base they would have to rely on the Medina shuttle which has been cut back to save funds. Please reconsider closing Medina Gym for the weekends.

A. Thank you for your feedback on the Medina Fitness Center. Our FSS staff closely monitored weekend patronage for the past year and based on routinely low headcounts and the associated operating costs, our FSS team is implementing adjustments to weekend operating hours.

Effective Jan. 5, the JBSA-Medina Fitness center is remaining open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but will close on Sundays/federal holidays.

Our Warhawk Fitness Center will remain open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 24/7 fitness access will be available at the Warhawk, Chaparral and Gateway Fitness Centers.

Please stop by one of these centers during normal operating hours to register your CAC for 24/7 Fitness Access. I’m optimistic that we can expand our 24/7 capability to include the JBSA-Medina Fitness Center by the end of FY20 and appreciate your commitment to physical fitness and resiliency. Thanks again, and have a great workout!

Q. Can something be done to turn off traffic lights for the closed visitor center at the Harry Wurzbach East gate at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston?

Many times a day, the closed visitor gets green lights, which stops the traffic flow coming on and off JBSA- Fort Sam Houston. Having the lights change for a closed visitor center is unnecessary at this time.

In addition, can the traffic lights at that gate be adjusted to only change when there is a vehicle present?

A. Thank you for your question. Although JBSA-Fort Sam Houston does not own or maintain the traffic lights in that area, the 502d Security Forces Squadron routinely partners with the Texas Department of Transportation to evaluate the traffic light timing and suggest changes, which TXDOT then implements. 502d Security Forces Squadron meets with TXDOT monthly and will bring this traffic light concern up as a discussion item for action in their January meeting. We appreciate your feedback!

Q. Does anyone know why there is an influx of inbound traffic at the JBSA-Randolph gates off FM 78 and Pat Booker Road each morning from 7:30-8 a.m.? Sometimes the traffic is backed up for more than a mile. When the hours were staggered during the gate closures, the traffic ran smoothly. As it is now, there are numerous accidents taking place with such a rush of traffic.

A. . Thank you for your question. Traffic flow at JBSA-Randolph and specifically at the gates are constantly changing, especially from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. This is primarily driven by adjusted and staggered work schedules you mentioned, where groups of drivers may arrive earlier or later in the day.

We will closely monitor the traffic flow in that area and work with the Texas Department of Transportation to help ease the congestion at all gates as well as surging additional manpower to them to help expedite the flow of traffic, if required. 

Q. With the construction that began last month at the JBSA-Lackland Valley Hi Gate, is there a plan to have the Selfridge West and East Gate hours of operation adjusted?

A. Great question! There are not any construction projects for JBSA-Lackland’s Valley Hi Gate, but there is commercial traffic associated with a construction project to build new Military Training Facilities that will be utilizing the “construction haul” road located adjacent to the Valley Hi Gate (Airmen’s Gate).

Since there are no anticipated traffic concerns at this time, we have not changed hours of operation for Valley Hi or the hours for Selfridge Gates. There is the possibility of heavier than usual traffic along Valley Hi as construction-related traffic will be utilizing the center lane just outside the gate to turn into the dorm construction site.

Mission partners and visitors accessing JBSA-Lackland through the Valley Hi Gate may be impacted. If delays are encountered at the Valley Hi gate, visitors are encouraged to use other gates such as those located on Military Drive (Luke East/West, Selfridge East/West). If possible, personnel should also consider changing their reporting times with their supervisor. The construction haul road opened Dec. 16, 2019, and is expected be in use through December 2020.

Miscellaneous

Q. What is the purpose of the military base taxi, and are there limits to its usage? A co-worker of mine told me that “A” couldn’t get them to pick “B” up from the Visitors Center to take her to our building on JBSA-Randolph because the Visitors Center was off base. “A” said that she asked if they could come if “B” went through the gate and waited and they said no. “B” got lucky because someone who was coming onto the base recognized her and gave her a ride to our building. If this is true, then someone needs to look into their process.

A. Thank you so much for sharing your concerns. Sometimes the name of the Logistics Readiness Squadron’s “Base Taxi” service is misleading as it is better described as an “Official Taxi” with all usage in accordance with Department of Defense and Air Force policy.

This service is intended to provide transportation to personnel (military and Department of Defense civilians) conducting official business and Temporary Duty, or TDY, personnel who are authorized transportation between lodging (on or off-base) and their duty location or place of dining and shopping for essentials.

For permanent party military and civilians, transportation between a member’s home and their duty location is a personal responsibility and is not supported via the Official Taxi, or other government motor vehicles, or GMVs, to include unit-assigned GMVs.

Currently within JBSA, there are no personnel authorized to use GMVs to travel to and from work from their home. In addition, Official Taxi drivers are not authorized to sponsor, escort or utilize the “trusted traveler” program for those individuals that do not have an installation access credential.

If you have any questions relating to official use of GMVs, please contact a ground transportation dispatch office at JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-3317/18; at JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-3477; and at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-9631/35.

Q. I was wondering what the current situation was with JBSA-Randolph Security Forces water? We were told that our water was unavailable due to payment reasons. In cases like this, would we be able to get water from other installations as a part of us being JBSA?

A. Thank for you very much for your question. The current situation is that drinkable water is now available in all 902d Security Forces Squadron’s temporary facilities that have no available drinking water. The squadron is also installing additional filtered water fountains within suitable facilities. In addition, our local commissary and shoppettes offer a wide variety of water products, so there’s no need to travel across San Antonio to acquire a favorite brand!

Q. I had a question about the uniforms being provided for civilian Department of the Air Force Defenders. We are being issued blue uniforms, and the same green plate carriers as our military counterparts. Soon, we will have tan Sig firearms that will be put in black duty belt/holsters.

Is there any way we could get some uniformity so that we aren’t so color mismatched? DAF that are deployed overseas are allowed to wear OCPs. Many of us would rather wear either OCPs, or be issued all black gear, including plate carriers and Sigs.

A. Thank you for your question regarding our civilian Defender uniforms. There is good news! In August 2019, the Security Forces Group Commander issued a policy allowing the wear of a second chance vest, with trauma plate, inside a uniform color matched body armor vest carrier on the outside of the uniform. This configuration enables color matched uniformity while guaranteeing officer safety.

For enhanced responses, however, all JBSA Security Forces are required to have a green Level IV High Threat Harness Plate Carrier immediately available. The color of this plate carrier is green based on a “lesson learned” after the active-shooter incident at JBSA-Lackland in 2016. Off-base responding law enforcement could not easily tell who was a responding security forces Defender and who wasn’t. An agreement was made with local law enforcement for JBSA security forces to wear green plate carriers so local law enforcement could easily recognize responding security forces.

Regarding your question about the new M18 Modular Handgun color, we understand it will indeed be coyote-tan. The Air Force Security Forces Center is coordinating a new Air Force Instruction 31-118, Security Forces Standards and Procedures, that will replace Air Force Instruction 31-122, DAF Police/Security Guard Program.

The new guidance will include provisions for Civilian Defenders, to include duty gear requirements such as holsters and duty belts. As soon as we know what the new guidance for duty gear is, our Defense Forces Commanders will be sure to share it with everyone, so be on the lookout!

Q. Why is the Family Recreational Vehicle Camp at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston used as a permanent residence?

During a recent stay at the Family Camp at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, I spoke with several guests and found some of the things disturbing. One patron told me he lived at the camp for three years. He started as a geo-bachelor but divorced and never moved.

He also informed me of hospital patients living there along with a few others. The school bus runs through the camp to pick up children for school; that should be an indicator that a long-term resident is there.

My question is, should these patrons be allowed to have permeant spots on the instillation and have free utilities? In addition to people misusing the facility the conditions of some of the sites is awful.

For instance, there are dog pens on the site with fecal matter all over and overgrown grass because mowers can’t get in to mow and keep the areas. The camp host and his neighbor are two of the residents that have been there, according to another guest, for 12 years running.

This is a camp, not a residential RV community. If they choose to live in the RV, that is perfectly acceptable but not at the Family Camp the facility was not designed for that purpose.

I was unable to make a 30-day reservation for this Fam Camp. One resident told me they use to make you leave for a week after your month and then you could return but that is no longer enforced. Having visited many Fam Camps, I know there is a limit to the length of stay (continuous) this is the norm and per regulation.

We all know there are exceptions to rules for special circumstances; however, someone needs to looking into the rules and how this Fam Camp is operating. I have family in the area and love to come for visits and should not be forced to stay at private facilities because there are individuals homesteading at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

A. Thanks for sharing your concerns about the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston RV Park. You are correct that military RV parks are built for recreational and not for residential purposes.

The JBSA-Fort Sam Houston RV Park operates using reservations, which are taken up to one year in advance for 74 spaces. Guests may stay for up to 30 consecutive days and may return to the park after 24 hours if space is available. Guests may not stay for more than 180 days in a calendar year. 

Because the RV Park is so close to Brooke Army Medical Center, many guests undergoing treatment for medical issues are authorized to stay longer than 30 days. Other guests who PCS in/out often stay at the park temporarily while they await or clear permanent housing.

The school bus you saw stopped to pick-up children whose parents were in this category. There is high demand for the RV park during the winter as retirees come south in search of warmer climates.

If there are no spots available at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, I encourage you to try our FAMCAMP at JBSA-Lackland where we have 42 RV spaces available.

Our staff addresses complaints about pets and all rules violations with guests as soon as they’re made aware. If the violations continue, guests are asked to leave immediately. If you see guests continuing to break the rules, please contact our RV Camp Manager, Marty Boulez, and she will address the issue directly.

We currently have two camp hosts on contract. They are tasked with providing oversight of the park when FSS staff is not on-duty. They are under contract for one year with the contract renewed annually at the discretion of the park manager. They provide a valuable service to our guests and are integral to good command and control of park operations.  Thank you again for using our RV Park and for your valuable feedback.

Q. There has been a lot of talk at JBSA about the rise in suicides/depression/abuse/etc. Why don’t we have the mental health counselors/chaplains/commanders send out uplifting positive and helpful tips and sayings on the base email, or put a positive uplifting thought on the base marquees periodically?

If we want morale to improve at JBSA then one way to do that is to send out positive uplifting messages, sayings, and helpful tips and suggestions throughout the week. Build people up and tell them that they are cared about and important. I have been here at JBSA since 2010 and I have rarely seen any positive and uplifting sayings, helpful tips, or “I care about you” messages on the base emails, base marquees, base newspaper or JBSA Facebook page.

Also, actions speak louder than words. Let’s talk the talk and walk the walk! Smile, build people up, and ask how they are doing. Send the message that JBSA cares about its people. Maybe have the base chaplains or commanders greet people at the gates and just say hi and have a great day.

Get the chaplains out into the units and cheer people up and make them feel cared about and important. I rarely have had a unit chaplain come by in my unit and just talk to the people and listen to them, shake their hands, and cheer them up! The chaplains and commanders and the base media need to get the positive message and vibes out there to JBSA. Just a suggestion!

A. I want to personally thank you for your concern for the welfare of our team. I absolutely concur that people are our best and greatest resource, and every member of JBSA is valued.

It is my hope that this weekly forum for Q&A expresses and re-emphasizes just how valuable – and important – each person is at JBSA. We are truly committed to listening to you and offering solutions to issues.

One of my top priorities is to build an environment of inclusion and connection throughout JBSA, so that every member of our team, from our youngest to our most experienced teammates, understands how important they are and much we care about every single person in our organization.

Each of us can help ensure our teammates feel connected and show someone else that we care – through an uplifting word, a selfless act of kindness, a simple thank you, or a smile. Treating others as we would like to be treated is a great starting point for healthy, happy, and uplifted people within our workforce at JBSA.

During our weekly staff meeting and on our JBSA social media page, we do our best to highlight members of JBSA and find time to reflect. This includes messages of inspiration and connection. You can also find this sentiment on my Facebook page, @502d Air Base Wing Commander. I encourage commanders at all levels to look for opportunities to thank your teams and reflect.

Your thoughts and suggestions on utilizing numerous communications avenues to help in this endeavor are important. At this time, the base marquees at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston display inspirational messaging, along with congratulatory messages to promotees, retirees and award winners.

Unfortunately, the marquees at JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph are currently inoperable, but actions are in place to have the marquees fixed. You can assure once fixed, the messaging at these two locations will mimic those at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Regarding our helping agencies, chaplains and Religious Affairs personnel are embedded in units across JBSA. Our large mission footprint won’t allow for each chaplain to be embedded in every unit; however, chaplains are always available for emergency and crisis responses or for individual counseling.

Our chapels offer programming for singles, families, married couples, religious education, worship services and observances to meet the spiritual needs of DOD members and their families.

Thank you again for your caring about our community and providing suggestions to help our team become better connected and inspired!