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July, August commander's suggestion box responses

Col. James Phillips, 919th Special Operating Wing commander, has a direct line made available to all personnel through the use of suggestion boxes placed throughout the base such as the dining facility, gym, and customer service.  To receive a personal response when using the commander's suggestion box, leave your name, unit, and telephone number.  Responses regarding information of general interest to the community, submited anonymously, will be published on the 919th SOW SharePoint page. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

Col. James Phillips, 919th Special Operating Wing commander, has a direct line made available to all personnel through the use of suggestion boxes placed throughout the base such as the dining facility, gym, and customer service. To receive a personal response when using the commander's suggestion box, leave your name, unit, and telephone number. Responses regarding information of general interest to the community, submited anonymously, will be published on the 919th SOW SharePoint page. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jasmin Taylor)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The 919th Special Operations Wing commander installed commander's comments/suggestion boxes at various locations around the base. When the questions/comments are applicable wing-wide they will be published on the home page and members who provide their name and contact information will be contacted directly.

Here are the June comments/suggestions and the commander's responses:

2 SOS Crosswalk
Comment:  Need a crosswalk at the 2 SOS building and a street light.  Need safety especially for night shift personnel. 

Response:  A 332 work request was submitted to install a crosswalk at Hurlburt Field in front of Bldg. 90131.  The CE leadership at Hurlburt has been looking into the request, but so far they believe there is not a need at that location because of the crosswalk that exists at the intersection.  We will continue to express our desire for one to be placed there.

Fitness Center
Comment:  Place name and/or email and phone number along with hours of operation of the person in charge of gym access at each entrance of the gym doors.  Several persons trying to access gym for fitness cannot. 

Response:   Info has been posted at the main door.  One thing to keep in mind is if the power goes out on base, the computer that controls access to the fitness center resets and must be manually configured to allow access.  We are in the process of determining if a UPS system will solve this problem or if there is something else we can do to prevent these lock-outs after power interruptions.

Comment: No hot water in women's shower in building 3107.  There has never been hot water in the several years I've been here, what's the hold up?  This would save time after PT instead of using the hot field house to shower and change.  Why have it if it's not adding value to the building?

Response:  Building 3107 had a work order for no hot water as mentioned.  It was called in April 1 and closed out as completed June 11.  Laz Martin, 919 SOW Facility Operations Specialist, investigated and found that all the sinks have hot water but the shower mixing valve was not working properly and that in addition the shower head was broken.  A new work order has been called into CE to repair that shower valve and the shower head.  He also checked on the field house and found the air conditioning is working and the building was comfortable.

Comment:  The ventilation in the men's restroom in building 3107 does not work.  During UTA the load on the facilities is greatly increased resulting in overwhelming odor.  The existing fans have no switch to turn them on. 

Response: The exhaust fan in both the men's and women's restroom needs to be repaired.  A work order was called in to repair both fans along with the shower mentioned above. This should ensure the restroom is functioning properly during future visits.

Comment:  PLEASE let the gym reopen at either 0400 or 0430.  My PT score dropped from ALWAYS having a 90 or above to below 90.  I would go after work, but by the time I get off I pretty much have to run home to grab my son so my husband can go into work.  I have to be into work at 0600 so having the gym open at 0500 doesn't give me sufficient time to complete workout/clean up.  Please reconsider the time.

Response:  This is a repeat from a suggestion that I responded to in April.  Once again, per AFI 34-266, UPTFs require that the "Wingman system be used at all times"; but we have no way to enforce that regulation if the fitness center is open.  In the interest of safety, more than one person needs to be in the facility at any given time.  When establishing the current operating hours (0500-2200), I reviewed months of the old sign-in logs and determined that during those hours we designated were busy enough that I am comfortable that there is usually more than one person working out.  Since receiving the note I have come to the fitness center at 0500 or earlier several times.  In no case was there anybody waiting to use the facility.  On one occasion I had to wait about 20 minutes before anybody else showed up so that I could have a wingman while I worked out.  I ask that you please give me a call or make an appointment so that we can see if there is any way that I can solve your issue while still being in compliance with governing regulations.

Pay

Comment:  Why is it taking months to get our people their proper pay after a promotion?  This is killing morale!  Why is it taking months to update reenlistment docs in PRDA and DFAS?  Fix/allow squadron access to AFPC and DFAS to update DOS/ETS and promotion times or hire more people to get things done faster.  Allow Hurlburt MPF to assist.  These problems are systemic at the wing level and need to be fixed.  

Response:    Without knowing the specifics of your case, I can only give a very general response.  While the system is set up to ensure promotions automatically flow to Mil Pay via MilPDS, enlisted promotion orders are sent to finance at least three duty days prior to the effective date, and finance normally makes these updates prior to the UTA.  Officer promotions are processed at ARPC.  Officer and Enlisted AGR promotions are updated with a CMS Case, which is more time consuming and the pay office handling the case varies based on where the AGR member is assigned.  Documents are loaded into PRDA at ARPC.  When we send documents to ARPC, we establish a 90-day follow up suspense to ensure the documents are loaded.  Members have the option of uploading their own documents using vPC.  Also, the Hurlburt MPF is active duty and cannot access the Reserve personnel systems.   Please contact me so that I can get more specific information in order to see if we can solve this problem.

Vice Wing Commander Kudos

Comment:  Col. Bruckner did a great job checking IDs and greeting incoming traffic onto Duke Field.  Keep him there during the week--at least in the mornings.  Traffic will flow much smoother!

Response:  He enjoys the opportunity to interact with wing members on the days he works at the gate and will continue to do so on a fairly regular basis.

Writing Guide

Comment:  The 919 SOW needs to develop a writing guide/list of approved acronyms and abbreviations for EPR/OPRs and awards.  This will assist writers with clear-cut guidance on "dos and don'ts" of writing and will eliminate confusion and frustration.  AD SOG units have great products we can adapt instead of reinventing the wheel.

Response:  Writing guides quickly become outdated with the forever changing evaluation processes, forms used, changes in leadership, etc. The surest references are the AFIs and Tongue and Quill located on e-publishing website.   There are two writing guides that we will be putting on the sharepoint, one from ARPC that can be found by searching the MyPers home page and another from AFSOC. Please be sure to refer back to the AFI and always check the publication date because it could be outdated.  A good rule of thumb with acronyms is if they are known throughout the Air Force, then they are considered common acronyms.  If the acronym is related to special ops, a specific career field, wing, squadron or flight, it will need to be spelled out. Chief Bischoff is also evaluating whether the wing needs its own guide beyond the resources that are already available.

Base Flag

Comment:  What is considered the base flag?  Because the one in front of the wing building is hidden behind all the trees.  Cut the trees or move the flag pole to a more prominent location so it can be seen by all, even if it is flown at half-staff.  I feel like is should be a focal point when we come on base. 

Response:  Thanks for your question and interest in our base flag procedures. The governing directive that speaks to this subject is AFI 34-1201 (Air Force Protocol).  According to this AFI (and to paraphrase), each Air Force installation is authorized to fly one installation flag from reveille to retreat, normally on a flagstaff placed in front of the installation headquarters (SOW HQ, in our case).  Additional flagstaffs and flags are authorized adjacent to each dependent school on the installation (we have none). Written requests for exceptions to policy are sent to the appropriate MAJCOM vice-commander for approval.  Thus, you can see that the location of our wing flag is in accordance with standard Air Force procedure.  The 96 CES monitors the tree growth around power lines and the flag and periodically cuts back branches when they get too close.  We will ask them to come trim the trees back when they can get to it. 

ID Card Section

Comment:  ID card section is the slowest ID card facility I've ever encountered.  Each time I have been helped, it took over two hours!  The place is not over-crowded!  Something needs to be done to speed up the process. 

Response:  Duke Field DEERS was initially established for 919 SOW assigned members, 919 SOW retirees, and their family members.  We were only authorized a second DEERS machine in 2011 to service the 7th Special Forces Group active duty members. Unfortunately, we are not manned by AFRC to service the entire local area retiree population the same way Eglin and Hurlburt are. When manning is available, we try to extend the courtesy to all customers, but allow 919 SOW personnel priority.  It takes approximately 15 minutes to create an ID card, but more time is needed for members with unique issues.  We consistently run one DEERS machine during our office hours of 0900-1500 and when manning allows, we run a second machine.  Customers have the option of going to Eglin or Hurlburt and can make an appointment for those locations while Duke operates on a walk-in basis.

Comment: Came to get new ID.  Computers were down due to overheat because of no A/C.  CE has not given any time for the fix.  How will I know when I can come back to get this done?  Please send a base-wide e-mail for updates.

Response:  Unfortunately, our ID card service was interrupted due to the A/C outage in the FSS building.  Customers can always call our Customer Support office number, 883-6458/6459, if they have questions or just to see if the machines are up and running.  We try to limit base-wide e-mails to reduce e-mail overload for all Wing members, but we do send e-mail notification when there are prolonged problems with the DEERS system. 

UTAs

Comment: TFI squadrons in the wing should have two mandatory UTA weekends per year (in April and October for example).  These UTAs would be reserved for hands-on training requirements (SABC, WST refresher, etc).  The rest of the UTAs would be scheduled during the week to work with their AD counterparts.  More support would be provided to the TFI mission without having to get funding for extra mandays.
 
Response:  It is important to first understand that Unit Training Assembly periods are Congressionally approved for pay specifically for the purpose of Reserve forces training and readiness.  Those by-law appropriated funds cannot be used to directly support active duty.  That said, the 919 SOW, its groups and squadrons, all retain the ability to reschedule UTAs if members don't have mandatory reasons (such as physicals, fit-to-fight, etc.) for attending on "UTA weekends."  In some cases, if our Active Duty-partnered squadrons are conducting a training event during the week that a reserve member also requires, then a rescheduled UTA during that weekday would be appropriate.  Check with your supervisor for your unit UTA reschedule policy.

C-146 Schoolhouse

Comment: Move the 551st (C-146) schoolhouse to Duke Field ASAP and definitely before the 524th.  FTU for the C-145 is operating very well and the knowledge and experience base will definitely help stand up the C-146 FTU.  This would only be moving 8-12 personnel and we have room at Duke.  It gets aircraft on Duke for FTU lines and keeps the crews already trained in the 49 SOS proficient.  Active Duty personnel do not have to fly to Cannon for currency and we could use the aircraft to provide SOF lift support for USSOCOM even on FTU lines.

Response: The requirement of moving a detachment of FTU instructors from the 551st school house from Cannon to Duke was identified during the recent AFSOC C-146 site-survey conducted at Duke.  For the very reasons you have stated, and to ensure PFT production during the PCS of the 524th to Duke Field in FY17, a 551st detachment of instructors (and support personnel) at Duke will be necessary.  The time of the schoolhouse move was carefully considered taking into consideration aircraft deliveries and deployments and other factors.  Keep in mind the 551st has no aircraft of their own so moving the schoolhouse here does not get us any aircraft ahead of the current flow.  In addition, there are basing actions and other administrative tasks that need to be completed.  As the timeline progresses, I will keep the wing informed on the timing of their arrival.

Further comments from the CC

An allegation of possible misconduct was received through the Commander's Suggestions box.  While it would be inappropriate for me to share the specifics of the allegation in this forum, all allegations of misconduct are taken seriously by command.  We are committed to providing you with a professional and safe environment as a part of the 919 SOW community and will address each allegation as the circumstances warrant. 

Please remember that the Commander's suggestion box is intended to provide you, as 919 SOW members, with a direct line to leadership in order to address your concerns about the base and generally improve our community as a whole.  I encourage you to address issues such as this allegation of misconduct through your chain of command as much as possible.  However, if you are uncomfortable doing so, I trust you will utilize the other avenues which are available to you.  If you feel you have witnessed or been a victim of criminal misconduct, inappropriate activity, harassment, or discrimination, you may contact OSI or Security Forces, the EEO office, the legal office, the Inspector General, or the SARC as the circumstances deem appropriate. Additionally, the chaplain is available to consult as needed.  My goal is to provide you with a professional and safe environment at the 919 SOW, and these agencies exist to assist command in that effort.

There have been a number of suggestions concerning facilities over the last couple of months.  Using the suggestion box program is probably the least efficient way of resolving problems with a facility and should be the last resort if you are not getting satisfaction through normal channels.  First, contact your building custodian or your supervisor if you don't know who the building custodian is.  Make sure that your squadron leadership knows, telling the first sergeant will help us make sure we are tracking on this.  Mr. Laz Martin is our wing facility specialist and you can contact him.  The suggestion boxes are normally checked on UTA weekends, so your suggestion might sit there for a while instead of being worked by CE. 

Please keep the comments coming.  If you're comfortable, provide your name and contact information in case we have follow-up questions for you or to let you know directly what is being done about the issue you bring up.