HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Col. Houston Cantwell, 49th Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Barrington Bartlett, 49th Wing command chief, held a wing-wide all call Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.
Cantwell spoke about his command vision for Holloman, hitting his key points of pride, people and performance.
“We are going to talk about our mission,” Cantwell said. “We are going to talk about training [remotely piloted aircraft] air crew, we are going to talk about supporting our tenant units and we are going to talk about how we are deploying our Airmen.”
Bartlett briefed the importance of safety, not using drugs and military benefits.
For continuing and updated information about Holloman Air Force Base, go to www.facebook.com/49thWingCC or https://www.facebook.com/HollomanAirForceBase/.
As part of the all call, Holloman senior leaders addressed a variety of questions from the audience. The following questions were submitted:
NOTE: question typed as written into PRESENTAIN
Q1. How are the F-16 contractors being recruited?
A1. We gave the opportunity via a post on the Holloman AFB Facebook page, 30 June 2017, with a link to www.aecom.jobs that allowed the public to do their own research in applying to potentially join Team Holloman. We have also made announcements on the local radio stations.
Q2. Are there any thoughts about pushing for a reevaluation of the BAH for Holloman AFB? It seems that for some of the younger enlisted members it isn’t enough.
A2. Local BAH rates are reviewed annually. The 49th Wing Commander is working directly with the 49th Civil Engineering Squadron Military Housing Office to ensure the information being passed up the chain of command accurately reflects housing options/costs across Alamogordo.
Q3. What is the latest concerning the combined RPA Operations Building?
A3. Headquarters ACC informed the 49th Wing in August 2017 that the RPA Operations Building fell off the priority list for FY 19. The 49th Wing Commander has engaged directly with Commander Air Combat Command to ensure his awareness of the need for the facility. The ACC staff is working to see if the facility can be worked back into the FY 19 or FY 20 plan.
Q4. Can we expand the dog park? Maybe add grass?
A4. The dog park is maintained by Outdoor Recreation. Recently, a Big Give team generously donated their time and resources to add a covered seating area, repair the obstacles, and paint the fencing and signage, for which we are very appreciative. Due to manning and budgeting constraints, there are currently no plans to add grass or expand the dog park. We ask that any suggestions for improvements to FSS facilities go through the ICE system so that we can officially track the needs and wants of our customers. You can submit a comment here: http://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=service_provider_list&site_id=189&dep=DoD.
Q5. With the increase in personnel, including contractors, how will we increase the efficiency coming through the gate while maintaining operational security?
A5. Due to the fact that there are other units and personnel leaving, to include the majority of the GAF, there is no significant impact projected at this time for security or gate operations as this will not be a straightforward plus up in overall numbers on the base. Regardless, Security Forces will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary.
Q6. What are we doing to prevent Airmen from losing their job from drug use?
A6. We are doing a lot of things. It is important for supervisors to connect with their Airmen and “check-in” with them on a daily basis. It is also on ALL AIRMEN to understand the ZERO TOLERANCE drug use policy that is implemented by the Air Force, and to also remember our Core Values before we make a decision that may end up being a career changing decision. The Legal office also provides tips through their court reporters posted on the Holloman.af.mil website. Above all else we want ALL AIRMEN to thrive in their career and not lose it to one poor decision. If Airmen are feeling stressors of daily life and work we urge them to seek guidance from our resources on base to include: Chaplain Services, AFRC, EO, first-line supervisor, First Sergeants, or fellow wingmen.
Q7. Will the 49th Wing host Oktoberfest next year?
A7. We do not have a definite answer on this, we are weighing the costs and benefits.
Q8. If they are increasing personnel, will additional slots on UDMs be added?
A8.The UDM position is up to each unit’s commander.
Q9. Will the increase in contractors make the cost of living go up for those living in town?
A9. It would only be speculation on what would happen as far as cost of living. As far as housing, it would depend on housing availability and salaries of the contractors and types of housing that would fit their budgets. If we had the average salary, we could determine based on most likely types of housing what the availability would be. I would think (once again speculation) that the total number of contractors won't have a significant impact to the cost of living in Alamogordo.
Q10. Concerning “balance,” how much longer are we going to be “surging,” and if the answer is “indefinitely,” when can expect a surge to the surge?
A10. I am actively taking inputs from the 49th Operations Group leadership to determine what level of student training is sustainable on a long-term basis. I routinely engage with pilots and sensor operators to gauge the level of effort across the group. The MQ-9 enterprise continues to expand with the establishment of Base X and Base Y in the coming 12-18 months. These new organizations are being built on the shoulders of the 49th Wing.
Q11. What’s going to happen to the German’s building when the Germans leave?
A11. I know the Germans are wrapping up their flying missions, and are projected to depart Holloman by the end of Calendar year 2019. The US and German governments are in negotiations to determine the end result of all German facilities here at Holloman.
Q12. Are the incentive flights only for Honor Guard award winners? Or will it be for all annual award winners?
A12. Right now the plan is for quarterly Honor Guard award winners…we have not established any incentive flight program for other quarterly or annual award winners aside from the Honor Guard.
Q13. Starting on Oct 1, with the new driving policy change, will Airmen lose their driving privileges for any traffic infractions?
A13. No. There are only certain traffic infractions that drive an automatic revocation of privileges—speeding in a school/housing zone, cell phone use, etc.
Q14. Who was the most influential person in your life? Why?
A14. Though there have been many influential people throughout my life, I would have to say my mother has been most influential. She taught me values that still guide me to this day including the importance of good manners, hard work, and maintaining balance in life. As a life-long classroom teacher, she also taught me the importance of mentoring and teaching others to help prepare them for life’s challenges.
Q15. The first light for crossing to the Medical Group hinders folks coming out of housing. Will there be a cross-section light installed?
A15. This question is being addressed between WG/SE, CES, and SFS. We are looking at options to improve traffic flows and provide better indications of beacon activity in low visibility areas. CES is working a solution and will pass through WG/SE.
Q16. Why did I find out about flight pay changes via social media, instead of AFPC/ Big Air Force?
A16. That is unfortunate that Airmen had to find out via social media, unfortunately with 24/7 technology that is possible to happen. I know at Holloman we push commanders and supervisors to pass down information from the top-down as soon as we receive any updates and announcements from Headquarters.
Q17. Will the deployment rate change after transitioning to AETC?
A17. I expect a majority of AFSCs to deploy at a similar rate following the AETC transition.
Q18. Why don’t we have any WWII planes in Heritage Park?
A18. Although planes from WWII are pretty awesome and definitely a huge part of our military history, we try to keep Heritage Park as a place for Holloman AFB specific retired aircraft to include the latest update, the MQ-1 Predator.
Q19. How do we at Holloman plan on transitioning with the new anti-transgender policy signed by President Trump?
A19. The Air Force continues to work closely with the Department of Defense to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving in the military. In the meantime, there will be no modifications to current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance. All Airmen will continue to be, and always will be, treated with dignity and respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, all Airmen will remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.
Q20. Is there any plan for lights at the cross section of First Street, opposite of the beacons where drivers cannot see the lights?
A20. This question is also addressed between WG/SE, CES, and SFS. We are looking at options to improve traffic flows and provide better indications of beacon activity in low visibility areas. CES is working a solution and will pass through WG/SE.
Q21. What are your recommendations for RPA instructors as we continue to try to increase our productivity by 10%? Many of us do not know how to sacrifice more time?
A21. First, I want to acknowledge the hard work of all RPA pilots, sensor operators and instructors here at Holloman. With 728 graduates this past year, we are continuing to be the premiere RPA training base in the USAF. Many of you are aware that I constantly ask the squadron leadership, “How can we increase student output by an additional 10%?” I am not looking for instructors to work an additional 10%, instead, I’m looking for inputs on how we can schedule more effectively or modify the syllabus to increase student throughput.