Scott Air Force Base News

Commander’s Call: Wing Commander Q&A

Here is the next round of Q&As from my most recent Commander’s Call.

I posted these responses and previous Q&A to our wing Sharepoint site and our public website, www.scott.af.mil, for future access and review.

Please keep the questions coming!

MISSION

Pope’s Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron is moving to Travis AFB, Calif. Why not move the 375th AES to San Antonio, Texas?

Thank you for the question. The decision to move the 43rd AES from Pope to Travis was based on prior Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission decisions affecting Pope and a need to realign the AE capability with an Air Force Tier 1 medical facility. Additionally, the squadron needed to be located on an airfield with aerial port of disembarkation/embarkation capabilities in order to maintain operationally and clinically ready forces. Our command continually assesses the force laydown of all of its mobility capabilities and recently concluded that Scott AFB will remain the home base for the 375th AES for the foreseeable future.

PERSONNEL ISSUES

I have seen Airmen at other bases stateside wearing Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms for day-to-day duties. Is that authorized here? If not, why?

Good question. Many Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Force Global Strike Command units are authorized wear of the OCPs. For approved AFSOC units, their wear is tied to their immediate contingency response and joint interoperability with our sister-services (those on constant SOF alert). For AFGSC, the uniform change was part of the SECAF’s Quality of Life improvements--not everyone was authorized wear, but most of the defenders, missile facility managers, and other specialties that work in the missile fields are approved to wear OCPs.

Unlike the ABU, the OCP is not made to withstand long-term use (it fades and wears out quickly); therefore, it is not cost effective for personnel in-garrison to wear it on a permanent basis. At this time, there is no intent to make OCPs an “in garrison” uniform for the Air Force. The Airman Battle Uniform is the tactical uniform of choice for the Air Force for the foreseeable future.

Can we vape in government vehicles? If not, why?

Government vehicles are considered Tobacco-free environments and per Air Force Instructions, tobacco use in a government vehicle is prohibited. Tobacco includes all products that may be configured to deliver nicotine, including but not limited to, cigars; cigarettes; electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes); stem pipes; water pipes; hookahs; vaporizers; smokeless products that are chewed, dipped, sniffed, or “vaped;” and any other nicotine delivery system that the Food and Drug Administration defines as a tobacco product.

Other guidance includes prohibition on consuming alcoholic beverages, eating while driving, and operating electronic devices while driving (except in “hands-free” mode). This guidance is intended to ensure the safety of the occupants of the GMV as well as other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. Additionally, as there are often multiple users and passengers in GMVs, this guidance protects others from all forms of smoke and chemicals released from traditional and electronic cigarettes. Our 375th Medical Group Health Promotions team offers a Tobacco Cessation Class for those interested in tobacco cessation /quitting support. Please contact Health Promotions at 256-7139.

Do you have any information on a transgender policy being implemented by the Air Force?

Yes, on June 30, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum that ended the prohibition of transgender personnel from serving in the military. This policy is to be implemented in stages over the next 12 months with the immediate effect of stopping the involuntary separation, discharge or denial of reenlistment or continuation of service due to transgender affiliation. The next step includes training for commanders and Air Force personnel on the policy changes. Within a year, the Air Force is expected to begin accessing openly transgender applicants who otherwise meet all standards. This transition in Department of Defense policy will ensure those who meet standards can serve in a well-trained, all-volunteer force.

Why is there such a large difference between maternity and paternity leave? Can you clarify if paternal leave is 10 or 14 days?

Great question. Paternity leave was re-designated as Parental leave and included in the latest update to AFI 36-3003, Military Leave Program, as of May 2016. Parental leave is categorized as Permissive Leave and is authorized for married military members on active duty whose spouse gives birth to a child. Currently members are authorized 10 days of parental leave and must be taken over consecutive days, no later than one year following birth of the child, and may be used in conjunction with ordinary leave. In addition, as part of the Department of Defense Force of the Future initiatives, the Department is seeking to expand parental leave from 10 to 14 non-continuous days. This adjustment requires a change in law and has not yet been approved.

Maternity leave, is also covered in AFI 36-3003; however it falls under the convalescent leave program which is overseen by the AF Surgeon General. Convalescent leave is approved by the commander on the recommendation of a medical treatment facility or attending physician most familiar with the member’s medical condition.

As part of the Department’s Force of the Future initiatives, maternity leave was recently increased DoD-wide from six weeks to 12 weeks to allow increased time for bonding between mother and child and to allow additional time for active-duty females to concentrate on their family without the undue stress or pressure associated with returning to duty on a short timeline. This change helps to facilitate balancing the increased responsibilities that come with childbirth and mission effectiveness, and coincides with the Department’s ongoing efforts to retain talent.

In the case of dual-military couples, leave policy specifically details that maternity leave-days may not be “transferred” to create any kind of shared benefit. The Air Force took careful consideration on the number of permissive TDY days a commander could grant to service members whose spouse gives birth. The time provided under parental leave was deemed appropriate given the mission impacts of having a dual-absence for military couples, while affording the extended time to new mothers based on the areas previously mentioned.

INSTALLATION & FACILITIES

Can we add parking for Parents with Infants at the Exchange and Commissary?

Thank you for your question and for taking a personal interest in improving the quality of life here at Scott AFB. There’s no doubt that shopping with an infant creates significantly different logistical challenges than shopping alone. Scott does allocate parking spaces for expectant mothers, due to the medical concerns associated with pregnancy and walking long distances. This space allocation decision was made with guidance from our medical professionals and logistical review from our mission support group.

As you likely already know, parking can be challenging at many locations throughout the installation. Any changes we make to the parking allocation plan has a ripple effect throughout the installation and has the potential to further complicate parking challenges for other members of Team Scott. I have passed your idea, of adding “Parent with Infants” parking spaces to the Commissary and Exchange parking lots, to my leadership team, and they will consider the idea during the installation’s quarterly/annual space allocation review.

Why are dogs (on a leash) prohibited at the spectator area of the softball fields during intramural play?

Excellent question! Before you read the explanation below, please know that although pets are not allowed on the softball fields, we understand the need for pet-friendly locations, and we wanted to share that Scott has a dog park that is located just down the road from the softball fields, across the street from the fire station. This dog park is open to everyone with base access and will allow you to spend time with your dog in a safe, pet-friendly environment.

Our top priority at any event, to include intramural sports, is the safety of our members. In the past, dogs have broken free of their leashes and run onto the field. This causes a disruption to the game and could lead to a player or spectator being bitten. Even the friendliest of pets may get agitated in hot or cold weather, around strangers or near large groups, causing them to act in ways they may normally not. In addition, while many of us love our furry friends, not all dogs love one another.

Even while leashed, there is a chance that pets may get into a fight, resulting in injuries to one or both. We’ve also had some unfortunate incidents in which pet owners did not clean up after their pets. This requires someone else to clean up pet waste, or, if left unnoticed, can destroy the fields over time.

While we understand wanting to be around our pets all the time, the softball field isn’t the ideal location for pets. Instead, please enjoy the excellent dog park Scott offers and then come cheer on your favorite team in intramurals!

MISCELLANEOUS

Are there going to be patches or coins for Scott’s 100th Anniversary?

Yes! The 375th Force Support Squadron will have a variety of Centennial related items for sale that will include a coin and other commemorative items. They are currently working with vendors on product recommendations and pricing. We’ll provide more information in the near future.

How do we ask questions outside of Commanders Call?

Great question! You can send a question to me any time using the Action Line located on the Scott Air Force Base Homepage, www.scott.af.mil , or by calling (618) 256-5400.

I love the motivational quotes on the base marquee. Can we get a bigger variety of quotes?

Thanks for noticing the messages! We hope they help motivate and inspire Team Scott. Although space is limited, we are always on the lookout for additional messages, and I’m open to any suggestions you may have. You can submit your suggestions through the Action Line at www.scott.af.mil, or you can send them to 375aw.pa@us.af.mil.

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