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Q: (Col. Spangenthal) Does the Commander actually answer these e-mails or are they answered by his staff?

A: Yes, I do answer them, but will need the assistance of my team from time to time to ensure you get the best response.

Q: I would like to suggest military only hours for the gym. For example, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. would be ideal both for PT and after hours training. I'm sure it would eliminate some of the congestion we experience during these hours. Thank you in advance for considering this.

A: Dear Altus Team Member,

Our fitness center staff strives to provide outstanding service to all authorized customers; Active Duty Airmen, Guardsmen, Reservists, government civilians and our families. Customer feedback at the Fitness Center indicates the colder than normal temperatures have driven more people inside this winter to complete their workouts. Rarely does the hourly headcount exceed equipment availability, but when it does it typically occurs on Mondays. With temperatures warming, and as more squadrons move outdoors for PT sessions, we anticipate the demand for indoor equipment will decrease. The Fitness Center will continue to monitor hourly headcounts closely and if demand exceeds equipment availability more frequently and impacts the ability for military members to complete their workout, we will reconsider options for "military only" hours. Thank you for your suggestion and continued support of the Fitness Center.

Col S

Q: Sir, this morning you briefed a mission initiative regarding customer feedback. Personally, I'm not a fan of reserved parking spaces. Most units have reserved spaces for wing leadership, group leadership, and squadron leadership. I suggest removing reserved parking spaces not required by law from community areas such as the FCC and Commissary as well as reserved spaces at units not normally visited by higher leadership at most units. This provides additional parking for student access (e.g. customer access) and increased use of non-green areas. With minimal prior notification, units expecting visits from wing/group leadership or other DVs can place temporary reservations on spaces to facilitate their access and schedules.

In my opinion I think community areas such as the FCC and commissary could have reserved spaces for expecting mothers and those with newborns.
There are many different ways to consider parking, but I hope a change like this would improve moral for students and permanent party alike.

A: Dear Altus Team Member,

This is a great question, the type that can generate discussion on improving the little things in our units. To address your suggestion of removing reserved parking signs, the Civil Engineering Squadron is currently composing a local Operating Instruction (OI) to tackle this issue.

According to UFC 3-120-01, a base parking plan should minimize the number of signs on base. A primary objective of this system is to reduce the number of signs and to eliminate the visual clutter that results from over signage. The 97 CES researched several other bases and found that there is no set standard for reserve parking. For example, Robbins AFB set a standard of 200 reserve signs base-wide while the majority of other bases are going with a 10% rule.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) dictates that we have one reserve spot for each 25 open slots for handicap parking. This is included in a 10% rule. For example, if a squadron has 100 parking spots, they are authorized 10 slots for reserved parking; of those 10, 4 would be handicap spaces. The remaining six would be divided up as the building manager/Commander sees fit.

Thank you again for your Commander's Corner submission and interest in improving our base.

Col S

Q: Sir, since I've been here in 2010 and lived on base, the running trail around Base housing has been just terrible. The concrete is broken up and warped in many places, and all the drinking fountains broken. When it's 116 degrees outside, operable drinking fountains would be real helpful. The obstacle course that also is on the trail has several things that are broken such as the climbing ropes near the BB community center. Thank you.

A: Thanks for voicing your concerns. I encourage every member of Team Altus to speak up when they see potential safety hazards around base. As an avid runner myself, I pay close attention to the trails. With the exception of the trail through Excellence Park, the running trail, drinking fountains, and exercise stations in the base housing area are the responsibility of Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC), our housing privatization partner. Recently, a team from the Civil Engineering squadron surveyed the entire length of the trail and found that the trail was safe for our runners with a few exceptions. Though the gravel on the Sequoia trail and the asphalt on the Great Plains trail is safe, there are some areas where some grading and maintenance would enhance the running experience. As for the water fountains, BBC maintenance will check each fountain this spring to determine if repairs are required. Finally, a check of the exercise stations on the trails found all equipment to be in safe and serviceable condition with the exception of some ropes near the BBC community center. Civil engineering has made BBC aware of the necessary maintenance and we will track the remediation progress during our monthly Altus-BBC partnership updates. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Sincerely,

Col S
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Q: Good afternoon sir. I work over in the TOPA office at the clinic and our office was just wondering WHEN (positive thinking, sir) Altus wins the CINC Award, what will that award money go towards? If this is still yet decided, will the Airmen have a say? My office has been talking and we would like to make a recommendation for an indoor (or enclosed) track. With the winds of Oklahoma whipping through the air and wind waivers having to be utilized we all were thinking that this may be a wonderful idea for Altus. Thank you in advance.

A: Dear Altus Team Member,

Awesome idea and way to think outside the box! Unfortunately, I still don't think we will have enough money to build an indoor track with our winnings WHEN (positive thinking is a force multiplier!) Team Altus wins the 2014 Commander-In-Chief's Installation Excellence Award. However, all our
outstanding Airmen will definitely have the opportunity to provide inputs on how we spend our award. Regardless of where the money is eventually spent, I can promise you it will be used to support and improve the quality of life for our amazing Active Duty, Reserve, and Civilian Airmen & their families...all of whom do an outstanding job of fulfilling our Mission of "Forging Combat Mobility Forces...Deploying Airman Warriors." Thanks for your question. Sincerely, Col S

Q: Is there any way to locally supplement travel vouchers (i.e. use Wing funds) that are not able to properly claim constructed travel costs for TDYs taken under the current JFTR?

Background: The current Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) specifically lists only airfare and travel agent costs as part of "constructed travel" for members submitting constructed travel worksheets. Members are unable to claim taxi/shuttle/POV costs associated with actually getting to an airport as reimbursable expenses unless they actually use those methods during travel.


A: Dear Altus Team Member,

Thanks for your question. I completely understand your frustration and had a similar response when finding out about this regulation change several months ago. Unfortunately the Air Force cannot account for your family traveling with you unless they are on your orders. Nor can we consider any expense other than the cost of the flight. I checked with our experts to include consulting with AETC. I can confirm the DoD Joint Federal Travel Regulation has changed and the new version is very specific in stating no other costs may be added to the computation. It even goes as far as crossing out the previous statement in regards to taxicab fares, public transit, excess baggage etc. This regulation stipulates how we as an Air Force spend appropriated funds on travel. You and I both agree the new regulation does not account for expenses incurred by members who live far from an airport. We have addressed this issue, but our current attempts to obtain a waiver due to our distance have not been approved. Of note, travel pay and unit funds fall under the same restrictions. Thus, if reimbursement is not allowed under travel pay, the unit may not fund it either. In summary, I am not legally authorized to use Altus AFB funds to make up the difference in travel expenses and our efforts to receive a waiver were unsuccessful. I will continue to follow this issue with the goal of obtaining an exception for those bases that must travel long distances to airports.

Sincerely,

Col S

Q: I'd like to make note that the 54th ARS has been located in building 193 for many years, sharing with the OG, the 730 AMTs unit and the 55th ARS in most recent years. When the 55th was deactivated in 2009 and merged into the 54th, all parties relocated to the 1st floor training space. The entire 2nd floor was remodeled for the OG (and eventually the 730ths arrival) and currently houses the 54th SARM & CFIC areas. The 1st floor of any building receives the most wear and tear with foot traffic and usage. Bldg 193 is no different, they host hundreds of students every year, family events, squadron functions, promotion ceremonies, commander calls, student forums, and a plethora of other events from other wing entities (CS/CSA, OGV and other OG entity quarterly meetings) are held en masse in our Auditorium. The first floor is in serious need of refurbishment. The squadron has attempted to maintain an adequate and uplifting, working/learning/hosting environment, but usually on their own limited/sequestered squadron dime or utilizing Booster club funds and limited squadron labor. While grateful for the Booster Club, and all the re-arranged schedules to accommodate student training, flying for currencies, additional duties and family time evenings and weekends, to re-paint the ancient paperboard walls and scrub carpets among the many other sprucing up items that have been accomplished, the Booster Club funds should be focused on enhancing morale issues or to the betterment of our squadron family's quality of life, NOT remodeling base structural facilities to an appealing level. Most of the planning has been done for the 46 project, the contractors have taken their pictures and measurements and are submitting their quotes. But if it would be at all possible to discuss relocating the 54th to the newly remodeled 2nd floor and refurbish the downstairs for the 56th/ or add the 1st floor remodeling to the current project, I think it would be VERY WELL received.
*Note, I do understand funding issues, I do understand relocating costs and issues, I do understand the complications I am requesting, but feel very strongly that this needs to be acknowledged.

A: Thanks for your question. Sequestration has hit the entire Air Force very hard on all economic fronts. I certainly appreciate the pride you and the rest of the 54th personnel take in your building. Please bear with me for a moment while I provide some information for some of our Altus teammates who may not know the history behind building 193. Bldg 193 is currently home to the 97th Operations Group and the 54th Air Refueling Squadron. Bldg 193 also previously housed our reserve partners in the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron as well as the 55th Air Refueling Squadron, an additional KC-135 squadron that was stood down when our tanker student load decreased. Building 193 has had a long tradition of training the next generation of air refueling experts, which would make it the perfect spot for the proposed KC-46 squadron. Unfortunately, under sequestration guidance, the Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) may only perform emergency and urgent work orders in base facilities. Furthermore, this unfortunately precludes work done solely to improve the appearance of a work space. Though the 54 ARS facilities are in close proximity to the proposed KC-46 facilities, any appropriated funds would only be used to support the mission of the new squadron, maintenance of the new aircraft and units displaced by KC-46. I'm sorry to say that at this time, no funds are allocated to renovate or refresh the 54 ARS work space. I understand that the 54th has already followed the recommendation I would give to all of our units desiring improvements to their units by filling out and submitting an AF Form 332, Work Request, to our Civil Engineering Squadron requesting a refresh/renovation of the 54 ARS workspace. The work request will be prioritized by the Facilities Board and is a high priority for me. As of our last meeting, the 54 ARS ranked high on the base unfunded list and your leadership can provide additional information as to the nature of the refresh. The 54th's situation reflects a new reality of military funding for the Air Force and highlights the importance of maintaining a Cost Conscious Culture and ensuring Every Dollar Counts. Thank you again for your question. I

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