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.
Q. Has the authorization for use of the Base Exchange and Commissary by veterans without normal access to the installation been put into place? If so, how do access to those services work? Thank you.
A. The directed implementation date for this system went into effect Jan. 1, 2020. This provision is in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 and is a great opportunity to give back to those veterans that have disabilities and their caregivers.
Right now, we are awaiting additional official guidance and direction from the Department of Defense. From there, each uniformed service will add their specific guidance and it will be passed down to our installations so we may develop our implementation plan and advertising campaign. You should be hearing more in the near future!
Installation & Facilities
Q. Why isn’t the gym staff at Rambler Fitness Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph checking IDs at the entrance of the facility?
I’ve been asked on numerous occasions why so many unauthorized people are inside the facility. Use of this facility is only authorized to certain Department of Defense-affiliated personnel, and I know personnel are sponsored with passes using the facility.
Personnel not authorized are signed up for classes inside the facility, and the facility is always packed. What is the policy/responsibility of the gym staff to ensure only the proper people are using the facility.
A. Thanks for your feedback and concern about ensuring only eligible patrons use the Rambler Fitness Center. Providing a secure, safe environment for authorized fitness patrons in all 11 JBSA fitness centers is a vital part of our support mission.
Air Force Instruction 34-101, Air Force Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Program Use Eligibility, identifies eligible patrons for FSS MWR programs, to include fitness centers. To ensure only authorized customers use JBSA Fitness Centers, the FSS Fitness Center Staff on-duty conduct 100 percent ID card checks of those entering the facility and not wearing a military uniform or approved service or unit physical testing attire.
Occasionally, circumstances require staff members to leave the front desk for emergency situations, locker room checks, equipment cleaning, dealing with a customer issue, etc., but these occasions should be short in duration.
If you see any patron entering any fitness center not in uniform and they are not asked for identification, please bring it to the attention of the fitness center staff who will verify the customer’s eligibility. Thanks again for expressing your concern, and I look forward to seeing you the fitness centers soon!
Q. One of my favorite things about driving at JBSA-Lackland is how proudly Ol’ Glory is displayed on what seems like every light pole on base.
Nothing is more motivational then seeing her displayed and nothing is more demoralizing then seeing her improperly flown.
What do I mean by “improperly flown”? Torn, tattered and tangled flags! If the base is going to continue to display the symbol of every veterans’ sacrifice on the light poles, then someone MUST continually check and replace them when they’re damaged.
Additionally, what does it say to visiting parents and family members of BMT graduates when they see the symbol of our great nation torn, tattered or tangled on the premier U.S. Air Force installation? Something needs to be done.
A. Thank you for your concern, and I agree that the beautiful flags flown along our main thoroughfares on JBSA-Lackland bring pride to many of veterans, family members and JBSA mission partners.
Our Civil Engineer team generally replaces these flags approximately once every six months to ensure they are flown in a good condition, and recently replaced all of the flags in early January. Unfortunately, South Texas weather presents a significant wear-and-tear challenge for our civil engineers, and as such they monitor the flags weekly, especially after storms, and schedule replacements of worn flags as soon as safely and reasonably possible.
The replacement of flags is normally performed on weekends due to decreased traffic and less safety risk to the work crews performing this task. We will continue to respect our flag and perform change outs as quickly as possible when any of them become damaged, and at no time do we intend to show disrespect to Ol’ Glory.
Q. Can you please address the consistent water leak that has been going on for the last 30 to 45 days, if not longer, in the road at building 2075, across the street from Security Service Credit Union on Kirknewton Street on Security Hill at JBSA-Lackland.
This water has been leaking every day and there is a constant puddle in the road, no matter how sunny or when the last time it rained. We are paying for that water that is leaking and it needs to be addressed.
A. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. Our civil engineers are aware of this leak, and report that it is in fact a privatized utility line that is owned and maintained by the privatized entity. This line has leaked and been repaired multiple times over the past two months, with new leaks following each repair, and as such may appear to have been a constant issue. Our CE team has coordinated with the privatized owner on the latest repair, conducted Feb. 7, and is hopeful to have this issue permanently resolved soon.
Q. Do we have a Voting Assistance Program at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston?
A. Thank you for reaching out! We do have Installation Voting Assistance Officers, or IVAO, at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. They are Ann Mancillas (primary) and Dwayne Lanier (alternate), both with our 502d Force Support Team. They can be reached through email or calling 210-221-2962.
If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I have a question about the bathroom availability in building 7065, the ‘Carswell Administrative Building’ at JBSA-Lackland.
We were told that there were no ‘private bathrooms’ in this facility due to the somewhat erratic layout of the many offices/agencies located in the building.
To this end, the JBSA-Lackland History Office made use of a restroom next door to our office as we have no water/bathrooms in our office space. However, new tenants have opted to deny us use of the bathrooms, claiming that they are protecting their millions of dollars worth of equipment.
Bathroom access is problematic outside of typical work hours and this office is quite often open serving our customers during these times. Many of our office visitors are elderly with movement issues.
I believe the restrictions placed on use of the bathrooms are unreasonable and fall outside the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, guidelines.
A. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Our Civil Engineering team has coordinated with the tenants in your facility, and arrangements were made to ensure that the History Office now has access to the nearby common area bathroom. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention so we could help resolve your concerns, and we apologize for any inconvenience you and your fellow staff may have experienced.
Q. Many Air Force and Army Base newspapers have a small section entitled the “PHOTO CAPTION CONTEST.”
The newspaper places a funny or serious picture of someone or something in the photograph in the newspaper. Then newspaper readers are allowed to submit their favorite quotes/captions to describe what the picture is all about. The newspaper staff then select the first-, second-, and third-place weekly winners and announce them every week in the newspaper. Prizes can also be given out for the weekly winner such as a free movie pass, free bowling game, etc. Just a suggestion to help improve morale on base.
A. Thank you for the fun suggestion! This is something we can definitely look into. Space is at a premium in the printed JBSA Legacy, so we will want to ensure there is a broader interest in a caption contest before we dedicate the space required every week. However, a weekly caption contest is something we can consider doing on social media, where there is a larger audience and immediate engagement, along with opportunities for readers to interact with each other or vote on submissions. Thank you again!
Q. Is your paper, the JBSA Legacy, an Air Force paper or a JBSA paper? I ask because for a while now, I’ve noticed the articles in it are mainly regarding the Air Force and very little about the Army.
A case in point is your publication of Oct. 25 where someone asked about retirement from active military duty after June 2011. The response was about “Airmen.”
In the area where it describes the publisher of the paper it says: Content of the publication is not necessarily the official view of, or endorsement by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense or the Department of the Air Force. Why is that?
A. Thank you for the feedback and question! We strive to be service-neutral when reporting topics and issues that concern not just Airmen, but Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
While the Legacy is a publication for all service members, employees, retirees, and their families at JBSA, it is published by the 502d Air Base Wing, an Air Force unit charged with the management of JBSA, and subject to both Air Force and Defense Department instructions in regards to the formatting and information that must be included in the administrative section.
However, you’re correct, this is a JBSA paper, so we can work with our editors to review the content to see where we can improve on the diversity of the articles we publish. Over the past six months, we’ve published around 550 articles: 55% Air Force, 35% Army, 5% Navy, and 5% Marine Corps/DOD-wide news – this is fairly close to the population distribution of JBSA!
While each issue of the Legacy will vary based on the articles available, we will continue to strive to prioritize content from our sister services. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil with the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Thank you again!
Q. We see the black flag and other flag conditions announced on the JBSA email/Outlook for the heat conditions on base.
Isn’t there a way to get the word out to everyone on base about these heat conditions since not everyone has access to the government email/outlook system i.e. contractors, dependent, retirees, etc.
I would suggest the following recommendations:
1. Put the heat conditions status on the base marquees so people entering the base know what is going on heat wise. Also, add more base marquees around the base at all base entrances, Commissary/BX area, etc.
2. Place a flag pole at all of the base entrances and have the military police, civil engineers, or base safety personnel drive around and put the current flag condition up every flag pole.
3. Use the “Big Voice” on base.
4. Have a big sign posted at all of the main base entrances with the current heat condition posted on it.
A. Thank you for sharing your concerns on advertising flag conditions. The current procedures that we have in place in the Command Post is to push the Wet Bulb Globe Temp, or WBGT, notifications via AtHoc, which pushes out an audible notification via the Giant Voice.
Unfortunately, the only drawback to the giant voice is that you have to be outside in order to hear it clearly. This is why we use the Big Voice system you recommend, in addition to the AtHoc system.
All individuals with network access (many contractors and some dependents included) have the ability to update their AtHoc profile with their contact information to include home phone, personal cell phone and personal email were they can opt to receive notifications.
One recommendation we would like to share is the Blackberry AtHoc app on mobile devices. Once the app is downloaded, they are able to access the system using the email address that was updated in their profile. Once they’ve verified their email address they will need to enter the Mobile App Code: AFEMNSAETC. This will update their location for JBSA and ensure that they will receive pertinent information, such as lockdown or weather warnings.
The member can also add up to 10 devices to their account which allows for the members dependents to be able to have access to AtHoc notifications. This does not solve the problem when it comes to retirees but it should be a good start for dependents and contractors who have access to the network.
We will look in to using a sign or flag strategy to notify the individuals who cannot access the network. Thank you for the recommendations!