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September, October 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 September and October comments/suggestions and the commander's responses:

 

Wing Commander calls

 

Comment:  Wing Commander Calls should be held at the start of the duty day.  Having a CC call in the morning will help avoid heat stress, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc.  Airmen become more engaged with the speakers and topics of discussion.

 

Response: I take full responsibility for this.  When we planned the commander’s call, the forecast called for a cooler day; obviously that forecast changed.  The hanger is the only space we have for a mass gathering.  As everybody is aware, scheduling on UTAs is a juggling act.  Mornings don’t work due to conflicts with fitness assessments, medical appointments, etc.  We did our best to place the commander’s call in the time where it would make the least impact to other events and gambled (and lost) on the weather.  I do appreciate the point you make regarding the impact extreme temperatures have on this venue and will increase my efforts to mitigate this as much as possible in the future. 

 

While we are discussing UTA scheduling, we currently have a process improvement team working on how to make our UTA schedules more effective.  The first step will be a short survey that will be conducted soon to find out where we presently stand.  This will be followed by process improvement event in December.  Please help improve our UTAs by contributing your comments or assistance on that team.

 

TAP Briefing

 

Comment:  The TAP briefing is somewhat beneficiary, but mainly focuses on active duty separating or retiring.  Most reservists have jobs to go back to.  I think USERRA or ESGR should be discussed.  Some people do not go on orders for fear of losing their civilian jobs.  Someone could go back on orders and not know what to do or go back to their civilian job and have it completely change on them.  A brief 10-minute blurb about employee rights under USERRA will have at least one person per briefing. 

 

Response:   The TAP program was mandated by Congress and is a by-law requirement; which means we have little opportunity to affect it at our level.  It is heavily geared towards AD members separating or retiring as well as Army reservists who tend to perform longer mobilizations than Air Force reservists.  AFRC has been lobbying for changes in the program since it was instituted and recently received approval for some members to compete the virtual curriculum instead of the seminar version we have been forced to use.  We will continue advocating for a program that makes sense for our members while at the same time complying with the law to the maximum extent possible.

 

In the near future, we will be starting what I call a “Reserve 101” course which will cover the basics that reservists need to know in greater depth than you can fit into a newcomer’s orientation.  USERRA and ESGR will most likely be included in that curriculum and we can also put that into a “Tools for Your Toolbox” briefing from the FSS.

 

Office Closure       

 

Comment:  Why do some offices close for one hour for lunch while other offices who are only 1 or 2 deep stay open by members having lunch at their desk?

 

Response:    Based on this note, I don’t know if you are referring to office manning for UTA weekends or during the week.  Regardless, everyone should have a chance to take lunch and doing so is actually mandated in civilian time and attendance rules.  There are very few reasons I can think of to mandate an office stays open and force members to eat lunch at their desks.  Talk to your chain of command if you think there is an expectation that your office stays open through lunch and try to work it out.

 

Kudos

 

Comment:  I came in today to get a CAC card and was greeted by Sonya.  She was very friendly and provided excellent customer service.  It is refreshing to have such a warm, friendly, and professional person attend to my customer service needs.

 

Response:  Thank you for your compliment.  For those who don’t know, Sonya Long is funded by the 7th SFG in order to attend to the needs of their members and families.   She has always pitched in to help 919 SOW members, families and local retirees as well.  She is a great asset to Duke Field!

 

Comment:  I had an extreme pleasure in working with TSgt Strong and TSgt Parks in the recovering of my military medical records.  I have not had any better service than the two of them have provided.  Thank you very much.  SMSgt (Ret) J. D.

 

Response:  Thank you; it is always nice to have the efforts of our people recognized!

 

There was a comment in the recent DEOCs survey where a member stated that he/she has put in a comment multiple times and I have not responded.  I have responded or at least acknowledged all notes left in the boxes; I do minimal editing on the comments and the grammar and spelling are as they came to me.  Boxes are emptied once a month, usually on Sunday of the UTA.  I do admit that responding to the comments can sometimes take a backseat to my other duties, but if comments include actionable issues those are normally addressed immediately upon my receipt. 

 

If you have not seen your comment, we have lost a box or you are using a suggestion box for some other organization.  Help me out, let me know where this box is!

 

I would like to share something else from the DEOCs comments, and when space allows I will address some other issues in this forum. A member states “since I have arrived as a member of the 919th XXX, I have loved nearly every single minute of it and will continue to work as hard as I can to improve the quality of airmen and the image of our unit around the globe.  I am proud to be a member of the 919th XXX and the 919th SOW.  Without them, I would still be selling car parts and not working as a _____.  I am—because of the 919th”.

 

Thank you for making my day.

 

Please keep the comments coming.  If possible, 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.