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NEWS | May 29, 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. Can I, a civilian with no military background, buy Air Force clothing (polo shirts, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, etc.) from the Exchange stores at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston?

Also, can you provide me an updated policy for the civilian employees? What can and can’t they shop at? Many thanks!

A. Thank you for your question. Regardless of background, all members that are authorized on base and in the Exchange are permitted to purchase and wear Air Force clothing that is provided at our stores.

Unfortunately, without a DOD ID card, civilians are not authorized to shop at the Exchanges or Commissaries at JBSA installations, unless they have an approved memo authorizing them to shop on base as Mission Essential Personnel during the current COVID-19 operations.

Q. My questions are in regards to Brig. Gen. Lenderman’s policy letter dated 5 April 2020, defining the local leave area as a 150-mile radius from the center of San Antonio.

Texas is a pretty big state with a lot of open, rural country and small towns. Scenarios that have surfaced during the restriction for example are 1) inability to visit family members that live just outside the 150-mile radius and 2) visitation ability for single parents who have children outside the 150-mile radius.

While considering situations such as these, my questions are how long will the 150-mile radius be in effect? Will the 150-mile radius be extended with the initiation of the different phases as the state of Texas begins to open back up? Is it possible that all JBSA military members could be restricted to “the State of Texas”?

A. Thank you very much for your question. To clarify, the local leave policy restricting personnel to a 150-mile radius is for 502d ABW military personnel. 502d ABW civilian personnel are highly encouraged to also remain within 150-miles for their health and safety.

These restrictions are aligned with the DOD stop movement and travel restriction guidance issued by the Secretary of Defense in effect through June 30, 2020.

Presently, the 502d ABW local leave restrictions will remain in place until June 30, unless the DOD guidance is amended or rescinded.

That said, unit commanders may submit an exception to policy requests as outlined in JBSA IC DIR 20-042302 which allows members to travel outside of the 150-mile radius for child visitation, family emergencies, and other extenuating circumstances. To date, I have not denied any exception to policy requests.

Q. What is the guidance on PT testing for June and going forward? Big Air Force came out with guidance early on for March, April, and May, but June and July will be here soon. Thanks.

A. Thank you for your concern for the health and wellness of your fellow Airmen. On 21 May 2020, Lt. Gen. Kelly (AF/A1) released a memorandum stating that effective immediately, official physical fitness assessments are suspended for the Total Force until 1 October 2020 to mitigate both exposure to and the spread of COVID-19 among our force. The memorandum is effective through 30 September 2021 unless rescinded sooner or suspended by other policies.

Installation & Facilities

Q. I was wondering what the policy is regarding dependent minors (17 and under) in the car with a parent having to provide their military ID cards to the gate guards if they are not driving.

The JBSA Facebook page states “Passengers aged 17 & under ARE NOT required to show an ID card when under adult supervision.” Yet, when I drove to the JBSA-Randolph Gate this past weekend, the civilian gate guard asked to see my daughter’s ID card, in addition to mine.

Would I have been turned away at the gate if she did not have her ID card on her? If minors are not required to show an ID card, can you please pass this information on to all of the gate guards?

A. Thank you very much for your question on if 100 percent ID checks in vehicles at JBSA gates apply to minors and dependents (17 and under).

You are correct – JBSA’s policy is passengers are not required to produce an identification card when under the supervision of an adult who can provide the proper installation credential. Minors age 16 or 17 who are operating a motor vehicle are required to show a military or Uniformed Services ID card when asked for by the guard.

Any person 18 years or older, regardless of dependent status, is required to show a military identification card. There may be occasions when it is difficult to determine the age of a passenger –especially near the 17- to the 18-year-old threshold – so the guard may request identification or inquire about their age.

Please let the guard know that the individual is a minor, and they will not be required to produce an identification card.

Miscellaneous

Q. Hello! When are BMT graduations going to resume? The patriotism, love, and pride that is exhibited each week is inspiring. The families who come on base are so positively impacted by BMT graduations. BMT graduations provide a huge economic impact on the base (clubs, AAFES, food courts, etc.), the community, and the city of San Antonio. Thank you!

A. Thank you very much for your question and support of our JBSA community, especially military training graduations. We are also looking forward to the return of military graduation ceremonies that are open to friends and families.

The health and safety of JBSA personnel remain my top priority as we execute a deliberate and phased approach to reopening JBSA based on public health officials’ recommendations and in alignment with national, state, county/city, and higher headquarters public health guidance.

The 37th Training Wing, in partnership with the 59th Medical Wing and the 502d Air Base Wing, have and continue to take safeguarding the health of our newest Airmen as our top priority, and unfortunately that involves restrictive measures.

Due to the nationwide pandemic and public health crisis, we are not yet able to provide a date when the restrictions in place for BMT and other military graduation ceremonies will be relaxed or what future graduations may look like. We continue to assess the situation and request that you please continue to check our JBSA website for the latest information.

Q. My question addresses the barbershop at the JBSA-Lackland Troop Store Complex on Carswell Avenue, building 7025.

I received a haircut at the barbershop recently and during casual conversation speaking with the barber, it was mentioned that the employees are not given the necessary sanitation solutions to sanitize the barber chair and the capes.

I was told that the employer only provides gloves for the employees. The employees must purchase and provide their own capes and are responsible for sanitizing them by spraying with any disinfectant solution.

Considering how hard it is to get the sanitizing solutions on the market these days, the barber is worried that if the employer doesn’t start providing the solution they will run out by the end of this week.

The employee also mentioned only nine capes are available and they average 20 customers per day, so they have to reuse the capes on other customers. I was surprised to find out that AAFES does not own the barbershops and that they are privately contracted, which is now concerning since it seems to be a cost-saving issue for not providing sanitizing solutions for cleaning and with possible no oversight by AAFES and employees fear speaking out due for possible retribution.

I don’t know how often the barbershops are inspected by Base Public Health or AAFES, but hopefully with bringing this to light they can pay the barbershop a visit and find out what sanitizing solutions they are using and if it is safe and effective in killing the COVID-19 virus.

The barbershops on base could be the perfect environment for the community spread of the virus if proper procedures are not being followed or in place.

A. Thank you very much for sharing your concerns and bringing this issue to my attention. Our leadership team has been checking the barbershops regularly and our Services Manager is in constant communication with the manager who handles all of our barbershops.

We confirmed that Public Health and the Exchange Services team visits all the barbershops weekly as this is a critical service and we want to ensure that sanitization is a priority. We also confirmed that there is a sanitizing solution available for all barbers, and there are capes available to ensure that one is in use and there are others being sanitized and prepped for the next customer.  

However, if you or any other customers continue to hear there is a lack of sanitizing solution and/or sanitized capes, please let me know and we’ll readdress this supply issue with our mission partners at the barbershops. Thank you!