NEWS | July 9, 2021

Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller 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 jbsapublicaffairs@gmail.com using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

Q. As you know, the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center swimming pool hours at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston have been severely reduced to weekday mornings and holidays. I am sure this is a huge disappointment to the center’s staff and its swimmers, especially in light of the fact that the pool was recently reopened after being closed for about five years.

The renovated pool is fantastic but, as just stated, the hours are truncated, due to a lack of lifeguards. I trust there is a plan in place to quickly rectify the need for more guards.

If not, I hope you are open to suggestions, e.g., increasing lifeguard pay or charging a user fee.

At Fort Riley, Kansas, in 2016, I paid $2 each time I used the on-post indoor pool.

At Naval Air Station Corpus Christi many years ago, it cost $2 a workout or $10 a month to use the air-conditioned fitness center, as opposed to the installation center. Maybe hold a $5 fun run to increase pay for guards? How about volunteer guards?  

Years ago, I was at an installation where there were active duty guards at an outdoor recreation center. What about looking for guards among active duty holdovers, awaiting orders and medical hold folks? How about contacting some local high school swim coaches?

Maybe a little brainstorming can be done now and a plan established for later, so this does not become a recurring problem.

You have my sympathies. There was a recent New York Times article bemoaning the need to close famous New York Atlantic Ocean beaches, due to lack of guards which was attributed to the 16 or 20 dollars an hour pay not being enough to live on in the area.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this issue, among the plethora of issues you face daily.

A. Thank you for your question.

Great news! The Jimmy Brought Pool has opened back to regular operating hours of 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday through Sunday and holidays.

The temporary reduction was not a funding issue but driven by the lack of lifeguards and applicants. We strive to offer the JBSA community the best aquatic options possible, and the summer swim season focuses on recreational swimming at the Aquatic Center in addition to the Jimmy Brought Pool.

Recruiting lifeguards is a year-round effort and we apologize for the temporary inconvenience. Thank you.