Holloman AFB --
The 49th Wing commander, Col. Houston Cantwell, held a wing all call Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.
Cantwell briefed the base on major events that occurred in 2016 as well as future efforts that will occur in 2017.
Major events that are projected to occur in 2017 include the temporary re-location of F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to Holloman; the naming of two additional Remotely Piloted Aircraft units; and the departure of the German air force.
The 49th Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Barrington Bartlett, also spoke to Airmen on the importance of Air Force Professional Military Education.
During the all call, Cantwell announced his commander Facebook page.
“You can like my Facebook page and, any time you have a question, you can ask me,” Cantwell said.
Cantwell’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/49thWingCC.
As part of the all call, Holloman senior leaders addressed a variety of questions from the audience. The following questions were submitted:
Q1) Do you have an updated reading list?
A1) My reading list can be found online at http://www.holloman.af.mil/ArticleDisplay/tabid/6274/Article/961129/commander-recommended-reading-list.aspx. When you finish them all let me know! Ha. In all seriousness, I chose these books because they pertain to a few core competencies I feel important to the 49th Wing. If you’re interested in any specific topics not covered by the list I’d be happy to recommend something if I have a suggestion.
Q2) Could adding the 49 WG/CC Facebook page make you a target for the hit lists that RPA members have found themselves on?
A2) While the ISIL threat is something to consider, it is not the only consideration or threat that exists online. On my reading list, I recommended the book Future Crimes that outlines several of those risks and vulnerabilities. However, these threats should not prevent us from living our lives and being proud about what we do. Facebook is only one outlet for me to engage with Team Holloman and the Alamogordo community and I intend to share information about the successes and challenges that face Holloman and the RPA community. I am confident that I will remain safe by being vigilant about what information I share online and making sure that I protect Operational Security and my private information.
Q3) A surge week sounds like a sprint rather than a marathon...what is the intent?
A3) Sometimes it’s important to exercise ‘the system’ to see where our limitations really exist. Plus, it helps ensure mission focus on the number one priority at the Wing.
Q4) What did you get for Christmas?
A4) Drone. DJI Mavic Pro. It’s really cool.
Q5) Who are you predicting to win the super bowl?
Q6) What is your favorite pizza topping?
Q7) What was your run time today?
A7) Though I didn’t take an official time, I think it was around 28 min…better hit the treadmill!
Q8) To the chiefs comments. At what point is PME replacing actual experience gained from trial and error. Is the AF institutionalizing/streamlining the way leaders handle situations from a book versus gained experience?
A8) The Air Force is not attempting to replace experience with PME. The AF is attempting to equip all enlisted members with as many resources as possible to make sound decisions that affect the Airmen we are charged to lead. The goal is to minimize the number of "errors" we make as young supervisors and managers as we grow our replacements.
Further, the AF is not attempting to institutionalize/streamline how leaders gain experience. The changes to how/when we receive EPME is meant to develop our situational leadership and critical thinking skills.
Q9) Has Chief Bartlett completed course 15?
A9) Course 15 was not a PME course available for me to take between Airman Leadership School and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. I wish there would have been developmental opportunities during the long gap between ALS and NCOA, so the decisions I made, which affected Airman's careers, were not all trial and error. I did complete Course 12 (today's Course 14 equivalent) as soon as I was eligible, as well as seeking out attendance to Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in-residence at my earliest opportunity. I was then and continue to be committed to improving myself as a leader through PME and other professional development avenues. Since SNCOA attendance in 2007, I have completed Senior Enlisted Joint PME, the Command Chief training course, the Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Continuous Process Improvement for Executives, the Senior Enlisted Legal Orientation Course, and I possess a Bachelor of Science degree in Strategic Leadership.
Q10) Is there a time line when the x and y bases will be available for us to volunteer to help set up / pcs to?
A10) Based on the results of a deliberate and standardized process to identify Base X and Y, the Air Force announced Shaw AFB as the preferred location for a new MQ-9 Reaper Group with four reasonable alternatives (Davis-Monthan, Moody, Mountain Home, and Offutt). Here’s the Air Force release with more information: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/1048679/af-selects-shaw-afb-as-the-preferred-location-to-host-a-new-rpa-unit.aspx
The Air Force will announce it is also considering Eglin, Shaw, Tyndall, and Vandenberg for a full MQ-9 wing with up to 24 aircraft, launch and recovery and mission control elements, a maintenance group, and operations support personnel. Preferred and reasonable alternatives are projected to be selected in Spring 2017.
Regarding the number of personnel that will be required and/or assigned to each location, those details are still being worked and will hopefully be available when the candidate bases are announced.
Q11) Do you have a prediction for where base RPA wing will be?
A11) It’s hard to predict because there are so many factors that must be considered. This is a deliberate process and the Air Force is taking an enterprise-wide look, which includes input gathered during the Culture and Process Improvement Program, as it evaluates potential basing locations.
Q12) If you could pick one of the new bases for base X and Y... what would you pick?
A12) No preference really
Q13) Are there going to be an increase in infrastructure on base? CDC or billeting? What about a Dental Squadron?
A13) There are no current plans for additional MILCON construction on the base. There is no new plan to build another building for the Dental Squadron.
Q14) What is the estimated completion time for the new clinic and the renovation for the Wing HQ bldg?
A14) Estimated move in date for both the new clinic and the Wing HQ building is June 2017. However, the demolition of the current clinic and construction of the new clinic parking lot portion of the clinic project will not be complete until March 2018.
Q15) When is bldg 29 going to be done?
A15) Estimated move in date for the Wing HQ building is June 2017.
Q16) From my understanding the German pilots will be relocated back to their base.
What will happen to the extra rooms at the German dorms? Will RPA sensors be able to move into them?
A16) After the German AF population relocates and facilities are returned to the base via foreign military sales, several courses of action will be reviewed to include placing permanent party residents in the dorms.
Q17) Is it possible to expand the CGO housing beyond just Lincoln Square with the F-16 squadrons coming in shortly?
A17) According to Soaring Heights, there are no plans to build additional base housing.
Q18) Is there a reason why we don't have a wing recycling program?
A18) Holloman AFB currently has a contract for the installation recycling program, advertising and awareness flyers are posted periodically on Facebook, splash pages, and posted throughout the installation. See the attached flyer -- Recycle and Turn-ins.pptx
Q19) Who can we make recommendations to for housing amenities (for example a neighborhood dog park)?
A19) If in the base housing area, Soaring Heights, contact Ms. Melanie Russel (Soaring Heights) at 479-1175.
Q20) What is the status of the ability to conceal carry on base?
Q21) Any updates about carrying firearms on base?
A20/21) The Privately Owned Firearms policy can be viewed online at http://www.holloman.af.mil/Portals/101/documents/POF%20Memo.pdf?ver=2017-01-04-131511-963
Q22) I have heard that you can bring guests on base without having to get a visitor pass. Is that true?
A22) The Trusted Traveler policy can be viewed online at http://www.holloman.af.mil/Portals/101/documents/Trusted%20Traveler%20Memo.pdf?ver=2017-01-04-154803-887
Q23) Mexico travel banned is going to be lifted?
A23) The Mexico travel policy is a US NORTHCOM/AFNORTH program and the policy can be found by visiting the AT SharePoint Site.
Q24) Where can we get info on any Single Amn/NCO groups/events, besides Outdoor Rec?
A24) Information is also available via the FSS website, FSS Facebook page and the base bulletin.
Q25) Is it possible to get a base basketball team?
A25) Contingent upon interest level, a base team is possible. Please stop by and talk to the Fitness Center Staff to gain more information.
Q26) To increase moral, is it possible to install Wi-Fi where cell data coverage is lacking? Ex. base gym, squadrons near the flight line etc.
A26) The Force Support Squadron is researching courses of action to install Wi-Fi in the Fitness Center.
Q27) What should we expect as we transition to AETC?
A27) I don’t expect the average Airman to see any difference once we transition to AETC. The commanders and WSA will be working with a completely new staff, but the average Airman shouldn’t see a change.
Q28) When we transition to AETC will that hinder the operational troops from deploying?
A28) Negative. I would not expect any major changes to our deployment requirements.
Q29) When AETC takes over will the f-16s fall directly under the wing? Or remain a tenant? In the end will Holloman remain an RPA wing?
A29) F-16s will fall under the 49 Wing after the transition. We are still determining the organizational structure following the transition. Some would like a single operations group—others two operations groups.
Q30) What is the probability the RPA's will be an ACC Det at HAFB?
A30) Zero. But, there is some discussion that a maintenance element could report back to ACC.
Q31) Overall, is Holloman going to grow with personnel with the transition to AETC?
A31) Yes—by a few hundred.
Q32) Will the increase of airman coming to Holloman affect the growth of Alamogordo in a major way? (More restaurants, etc)
A32) While we can’t speculate on the future of Alamogordo, I can tell you that we have a positive relationship with community leaders and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce and keep them informed on the base’s economic impact so that they can better make decisions that affect our community.
Q33) Can we do more of the fun runs like the one we did this morning? Maybe once a quarter
A33) We will certainly do more fun runs. How often will be determined by us meeting our operational requirements.
Q34) I second the fun run idea! Maybe authorize late starts on days the gym hosts fun runs (usually once a month) to allow/encourage more participation.
A34) We’re considering it.
Q35) Can you speak to the SECAFs reduction in additional duties and how you see this being implemented at the squadron level?
A35) Squadrons were directed to eliminate certain additional duties so they have done that. Other duties were consolidated at higher echelons. If the squadron was directed to no longer accomplish an additional duty, then I expect them to act accordingly.
Q36) After mentioning the Drone racing initiative what are the rules currently for owning and operating a personal drone on base?
A36) We will be publishing our small UAS operations policy by the end of the month that dictates where these can be flown on base.
Q37) What are your thoughts on the single salary pay system that is coming up for review? Do you think it will ultimately be beneficial for our airmen who are already facing an inflated cost of living here in Alamogordo?
A37) The NDAA directs DoD to provide a report to congress by 1 Mar 2017 on how the military would adjust its pay tables as well as a schedule of implementation to the new system by NLT 1 Jan 2018. It also mandates a second report, recommendation and schedule by 1 Jan 2018 from the SECDEF regarding the comparison of the new vs. current pay structures.
The new pay structure will assume the repeal of BAH/BAS into a cost-of-living adjustment similar to one used by DoD civilian employees now.
If Airmen would like to ask the Wing commander a question at any time, please go to his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/49thWingCC.
“If you ask me a question through Facebook, I will try my best to answer the question,” Cantwell said. “If I don’t have the answer, I will find the answer for you.”