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!
Why is NCO Academy attendance so important?
Thank you for your questions. In general, attendance at Air Force Developmental Education programs is very important and beneficial to individuals and the Air Force as a whole. This applies equally to DE programs for civilians, officers, and enlisted personnel. Enlisted DE programs such as the NCO Academy expand knowledge and increase understanding of the role of air, space and cyberspace power in times of peace and war. Air Force education programs prepare Air Force personnel to anticipate and successfully meet challenges across the range of military operations and build a professional corps. Further, they positively impact our recruitment and retention efforts. Education is one of three core concepts that make up the Continuum of Learning, which encompasses the deliberate developmental path over the course of an Air Force career. The other two core concepts of the CoL are training and experience. The CoL ensures the Air Force synchronizes force development efforts so personnel receive the right education at the right time throughout their careers. This instruction establishes education guidance and procedures for all officer and enlisted, active duty, guard and reserve components, and civilians. Additionally, the Study Guide for Promotion to Staff Sergeant (available at the Air Force’s Professional Development Guide website http://www.studyguides.af.mil/TesttoGrade/SSgt.aspx) includes more detailed information on your question, specifically section 188.8.131.52.
Why do members of the 375th Operational Support Squadron work 24 hours when support agencies go to standby at 10 p.m.?
Operating hours on Air Mobility Command airfields are driven by AMC supplement to AFI 13-204 V3, which requires “All AMC bases operate 24/7 unless reduced operating hours are approved by HQ AMC/A3.” The 375th Operational Support Squadron functions that are considered essential services and are required to be available for the airfield to be considered open include weather, airfield management, and air traffic control. The number of personnel required to be on duty in airfield management and air traffic control is determined by the same publication. Weather personnel are staffed IAW AMFAN 15-111 para. 3.3.6., which mandates at least one locally-certified weather technician be present to augment automated observing equipment while the airfield is open. Hopefully, this helped answer your question, but if not, please contact me or Chief Master Sgt. Wesley Mathias.
Why is there an intel presence in the 375th Air Mobility Wing? AMC provides threat analysis. Seems a waste of manpower.
AMC is supported by an Air Intelligence Squadron here at Scott AFB, but there are two good reasons why we have intelligence professionals who directly support the Wing's mission. The AIS supports AMC HQ, 18th AF, and Tanker Airlift Control Center with analysis and production of intelligence. The requirements levied by these three organizations ensure the AIS has little time to provide tailored intelligence to our Wing’s mission. Second, while the AIS does produce threat analysis, their focus is distinctly different than that of unit-level intelligence organization. At the AIS they are looking for intelligence at the strategic and operational levels, so essentially they seek out information that would affect AMC as a whole. Unit-level intelligence support requires more focus on the tactical level of analysis; to include pre-mission briefings, pre-deployment briefings, and discussions on tactics. Our experts work directly with the aircrews to ensure they receive the best service available.
How are supervisors supposed to become leaders and viewed as leaders when they are constantly being left out of decisions?
Excellent question. Our priority is to always encourage professional growth and development to increase leadership capabilities, and we encourage commanders to include front line supervisors in decisions impacting the unit and Airmen. However, some decisions may be of a sensitive nature and our leaders have to use their best judgment to determine the level of involvement of subordinates. If you feel like you can contribute and you are not being given that opportunity, I encourage you to discuss your concern with your supervisor and chain of command. If you reach a road block, please let Mathias and I know, and we will discuss with our leadership team.
INSTALLATION & FACILITIES
I hear the airfield will be more active this year. How will that effect some of the squadrons?
Due to a multitude of factors, aircraft operations at Scott declined nearly 40 percent from 2010-14. For some Airmen in the 375th OSS, 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 375th Security Force Squadron, and 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, this resulted in a similar decline in readiness. For example, if there are no airplanes in the pattern, air traffic controllers have limited ability to train and maintain proficiency.
In 2015, the 375th OSS focused on improving readiness by increasing aircraft operations at Scott. This initiative generated over 10,000 additional annual operations which equates to a 63 percent increase in readiness for some career fields. What this means is that some of the squadrons mentioned above will experience increased operations tempo and may find themselves facing unique situations. For instance, we now have an active drop zone and hot refueling capabilities at our airfield. These capabilities will attract new partners to our airspace and our ramps, and we hope will fill a regional training void helping establish Scott as a legitimate training option for the Total Joint Force. For those not involved directly with supporting these additional operations, you will see the effects of our increased readiness by the increasing number and variety of aircraft overhead.
Why does the new Panda Express charge sales tax? Why doesn’t it accept the Star Card?
Panda Express operates as a concession in our AAFES Mall. As a government agency, AAFES is immune to or exempt from paying state taxes; however, concessionaires such as Panda Express and other commercial contractors are not entitled to claim immunity from taxation, as they are privately owned. Concessionaires must collect and remit applicable sales and use taxes as required by state jurisdictional law. However, Panda Express does accept the Star Card and now provides the 10 percent discount starting Feb. 1.
Should you have any additional concerns about any AAFES products or services, please contact AAFES customer service department at (618) 744-9830. Also, please forward any customer complaints to Rita Sheridan, AAFES general manager, the administration office at (618) 744-0700, Sheridanr@aafes.com or Jacksonac@aafes.com
Why does it take so long for the 375th Communications Squadron to address my trouble ticket?
Thank you for your question, and I assure you we are doing our best to work through our help desk tickets. Unfortunately, budget constraints have limited new technology and reduced personnel, which impacts our ability to address all trouble tickets as quickly as we’d like to. However, we will continue to innovate and improve our processes to provide better customer support. In addition, we are better able to assist when provided with a detailed mission impact statement (who/what/when/where did it occur/ for how long/mission impact).
How much longer are you the 375th AMW commander? How much longer is Mathias our command chief?
Great question. A new commander has been selected and is expected to arrive this summer to assume command. Currently, we do not have a definitive Change of Command date, but as the timeframe draws closer and we finalize the details, the dates will be advertised to the base populace. Mathias will be here through the Change of Command, and his plan will be finalized with the transition plan of the new wing commander. We’ll keep you updated as the plan is finalized.
Why don’t we have these Commanders Calls on a weekend so the shift workers aren’t the only people coming in on their day off?
Our goal for commander’s calls is encourage maximum participation to ensure the widest dissemination of information, and we offer three different times during the wing training day to accommodate as many schedules as possible and minimize the impact to as many Airmen and missions as possible. If you’re not able to participate due to shift work, leave, or TDY, we also record the Commanders Calls and post them online. I’ll send out the link to it, following the next CC Call. Perhaps that is an alternative for those shift workers that aren’t able to participate during their duty day. Thank you for your understanding as we utilize dates and times to maximize personnel availability.
Can the Child Development Center be a no hat/no salute area?
Thank you for asking this question. To date there are no plans to convert the CDC to a no hat/no salute area. I fully understand the challenges when passing either enlisted members or officers outside of the facility while attending to your family. During these brief situations, where your hands may be full caring for your children, I recommend a verbal greeting in lieu of a physical salute.
Why are 4th Quarter Awards required to be submitted so early to the group level?
Good question! The wing established the date for the 4th quarter award after we took into account the December holiday break and the due date for the annual award packages at the wing and major command level. Our goals were to afford ample time to draft/score the awards, meet higher headquarter-suspenses, and not infringe on quality time with families during the holiday break.