Ask the Commander program
I have talked to a few people who wanted to submit “ask the commander” questions but were a little apprehensive about it. I told them I would ask. I would still like to be kept anonymous.
It can be intimidating for sure to ask a question straight to the Wing Commander. I am perfectly happy with submitters retaining their anonymity. I use this forum to hear straight from you what’s on your mind. It’s a great way for me to hear about things I wouldn’t otherwise know about. Sometimes I can fix things quickly, sometimes it takes longer, or it’s outside of what I can effect. I’m working to get some white space so I can answer your questions quicker, but be assured I am looking at every submission and seeing what we can do. Keep them coming!
ASTS Full Time Provider
With all the changes coming down from the Defense Health Agency (DHA) do we have a plan in place to get a full time (AGR/ART) provider at the 908th to provide much needed support to the Wing?
We just recently received an authorization for a full time provider, and the billet will be filled soon!
Base Gate Operations During UTAs
Can we request additional support from the 42 AW/CC to have the 42 SFS open an additional gate (Kelly or Day St) during the influx of traffic on Saturday and Sunday mornings? It isn't like we don't have the UTA schedule published and that the 42nd doesn't know that 1 weekend per month an additional ~1200 people will be coming through the gate during a 1 hour period in the morning. There have been several times in the past year this has caused people to be late for sign in by 0700 on UTA weekends. Many will arrive at the line to get through the gate well before 0700, but cannot get through and to their sign-in location by 0700. Personally, I have made it a habit to leave my house NLT 0610 for what is normally a 15 minute drive from Prattville in order to allow myself enough time to drive to base and then sit in the line waiting to get through the gates in the mornings during UTAs. Could they also do the same in the afternoons for outbound traffic at 1600 on Saturday and Sunday during UTA? They already do this during the normal work week with Day St and make it "outbound traffic only" after a certain time in the afternoon. This should not require as much manning as fully opening the gate and would prevent the bottleneck in the afternoon of people trying to leave out the main gate at 1600-1630.
Right now, the 42nd is trying to make the inbound/outbound flow better by teaming with us to add open lanes with additional personnel to check IDs and having officers managing the flow through the stoplight at the first intersection past the main gate. It seems to be a big improvement so far. We are going to see traffic disruptions this June as they work on the main gate, but when all the construction is complete, we can re look at additional traffic options.
Chain of Command
Why is it that offices such as finance or personnel communicate directly with a member’s commander rather than their supervisor or the senior ART first? A lot of issues are ones that could be handled at a much lower level. Shouldn’t the chain of command apply in those situations as well?
Fair question. We will go work on that.
Enlisted Members Having a Voice
Why are the enlisted members not being listened to? Do they not have a voice in the changing processes of this Wing?
That is a great question! Enlisted members have a voice and we would like to hear your voice more. Aside from your voice within your unit, we have enlisted councils that meet every UTA. The ACE group is for airmen up to E-4, the 56’ers are the junior NCOs, and the Top Three council is for the senior NCOs. Each of those councils has a mentor from the Chief’s group. The councils are a forum for Airmen to meet with their peers to discuss ways to better themselves and their organizations. If you want to be a part of making this wing better, we need you! Get active, be engaged, be a part of changing the wing for the better!
I would like to ask the Commander about Family Day 2019. Any plans or dates? I do have a suggestion about Family Day, if possible.
I have had very good feedback about the one Family Day that was at the zoo. My family and I actually attended this event and it was wonderful. I would suggest having Family Day during the October UTA in conjunction with the Zoo Boo festivities. I believe participation would be very high and the children would love the event. I volunteered at the Montgomery Zoo during Zoo Weekend last month and over 10,000 visitors attended the event. The event had games and displays from various agencies around the State. I believe if we coordinate with the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Zoo, we could make this an event to remember. We could even use our members as volunteers to run the activity booths and raise money for the Zoo. They are in need of money to build the new reptile house. If the location and dates could be approved, I would gladly contact the Zoo and City see if it will be doable. Planning should start now if possible. Last time the event was open to all military and should be again if approved. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Absolutely we are going to have a Family Day this year! We have started to look at options, and we are open to your input. I am trying to find the right balance between taking the time to thank the Airmen and your families for the work and sacrifice all of you make to keep our nation safe, and how valuable every minute of your training time is. If any of you want to be involved with that project; work with your enlisted councils or your unit leadership. We are looking for a PROJO and a team to help put this together. With the June UTA spoken for and no UTA in July, we will be able to start working this in earnest in August.
Gate Welcome Message
The SFS gate guards have recently changed their greetings at both the Maxwell and Gunter gates and state "Welcome to Air University" when you pull up to the gate. Why are the guards only recognizing one of three major organizations on the base? Maxwell has Air University as the largest organization, but obviously also hosts our unit, the 908 Airlift Wing, as well as Air Force Business and Enterprise Systems at Gunter along with several other tenant organizations on base such as DISA, the EPA and the Federal Prison Camp. Why not just state "Welcome to Maxwell AFB" when people arrive to the base since not everyone is here for Air University? That would be like driving to Robins AFB and only being welcomed to the Air Force Sustainment Center with no mention of the fact that Air Force Reserve Command is also part of the installation. (BTW, they say "Welcome to Robins AFB" there at the gates).
That is a decision made by the host base and routinely changes. I have heard many different messages during my time here, and “Welcome to Air University” is just the latest. I expect it will run its course, then we will hear a new message. I have spoken to the 42nd ABW/CC and it is in no way intended to depreciate the work of any tenant organizations.
How Do I Ask a Question?
Here is your chance to Ask the Commander anything you want. You can also provide ideas, comments and suggestions. Just click here and fill out the form.
New Ideas to Complete a Mission
If the Air Force has existing innovative ways of completing a mission, why don’t we utilize them? From networking and speaking with other NCOs from other Wings. I discovered NCOs that work from home on their programs use the UTAPS system to request for point towards retirement, RMP, and etc. So I did my research and requested permission to use the system and was basically told that I cannot use the system because of procedures that are already in place and would have to request it through email. I don’t understand why we can’t use the system if it is there for us to use, especially if it is a direct source to seek approval for what you are accomplishing rather than pushing it through email. I understand there are procedures in place, but if there is a more efficient way of accomplishing a mission, can we at least try it?
This question gets to the core of our vision statement “Capable, innovative citizen Airmen…” I believe that we need to explore new ways of doing business in all the things we do. Sometimes, we can’t make an immediate change because of the lag in guidance or the systems we have to use. I encourage everyone with an innovative idea to bring it forward. We have installed white boards around the wing as just one method of telling us your ideas. With most innovations, we are going to have to start small and beta test them – we cannot afford the churn of experimentation on a large scale that will affect everyone, but I encourage teams at all levels to look at ideas, experiment with them on a small scale, and if they show merit, bring them forward to try and improve the wing as a whole.
Traffic Lights during UTA
Why did the base change the traffic light at the visitor’s center gate to blink red for all traffic from both directions? I noticed this has caused a huge bottleneck on UTA’s for reservists to get on base to work and to leave work. Both Saturday and Sunday the intersection had two security forces patrol cars writing citations targeting reservists. I did notice in the afternoon after traffic was backed up to the base pool that one security forces personnel had enough sense to get out of his car and direct traffic to eliminate the bottleneck. Hopefully this can be changed back to the way the intersection has been operating for many years.
We have had lots of discussions with the host base on how to improve inbound and outbound traffic flow for the UTA weekends. Over the last two UTAs I have seen a huge improvement as we have more lanes open and the SPs have been out guiding flow. Great job by our 908 SFS partnering with the 42nd to solve a problem for us. We will continue to watch this and look for any other improvements.
I need to obtain the words to the Air Force song. Can you help me?