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COMMANDER'S ACTION LINE

Posted 10/13/2011 Printable Fact Sheet

The Commander's Action Line a direct line to the 1st Special Operations Wing commander for any questions or suggestions about the Hurlburt community. To receive a response when calling the commander's action line, leave your name, unit and telephone number. Action lines of general interest to the community will be published on Hurlburt's official home page. Others will be answered by a personal response. Feel free to call (850) 884-6736 or email us at Commando@hurlburt.af.mil.


Independence Road (June 2011)
Concern:

My concern is with the speeders coming to and from the back gate on Independence Road or as I call it "Independence Raceway". I use the back gate to enter the base daily, and I have noticed that most drivers greatly exceed the 35 MPH speed limit that is posted at both ends of the road. Being a daily motorcycle rider I am extremely attuned to the actions of the four wheeled vehicles around me, and I have witnessed drivers going 50 to 60 MPH around this sort stretch of pavement. I have personally been pushed off the side of this road three times by vehicles who were jockeying for position to enter or exit the base. I also have yet to see a single security force vehicle monitor this area to catch violators. I am not sure if these drivers are unable to see the posted speed limit signs or if they are just in that much of a hurry but something needs to be done to slow them down before someone gets hurt.

Response:

Thank you for your concern. The Security Forces Squadron routinely conducts traffic enforcement along this stretch of road. In light of your concern, SFS will look into ways to make that presence more visible and ensure adherence to posted speed limits.

We share your concern for safety, especially for our motorcyclists whose smaller size and quicker acceleration make them more difficult to see. In the future, please report any incidents to the Security Forces Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) located at building 90603 or by calling 884-7777. With any information you can provide (Make/Model, License #, time of day), SFS can attempt to determine the responsible party, and will notify the driver's chain of command to ensure proper disciplinary actions are levied on the driver. Additionally, any information you provide can be used by Security Forces to alter patrol schedules to better deter these types of acts and protect other motorcyclists and drivers.

Response from Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander.

Black Ice (January 2011)
Concern:

While I was over at the Riptide Fitness Center, I noticed that there was ice on the shaded portions of the sidewalks by the dorms. I spoke to the dorm manager, who indicated that she had no resources to combat the ice (i.e., rock salt or similar to melt the ice, or even cones to clearly mark the areas). The dorm manager identified that a part of the problem is that the sprinkler systems have not been shut off. Although, at these temperatures an evening rainstorm can also lead to the formation of ice.
Who would have the resources to quickly respond to black ice "danger zones", not just in the dorm areas, but across the base?

Response:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention as we take all safety concerns very seriously in solving such problems in maintaining a safe base environment.

The formation of ice on sidewalks and roads is fairly unusual for Hurlburt Field given our moderate winters and temperate climate. Daytime temps are generally sufficient to readily melt any ice formed overnight. Because of
this, we do not stock road salt in the self-help store as the likely result will be bags of salt stored at many facilities around base that will go largely unused and eventually be disposed of during spring cleaning.

However, every so often we experience a cold spell a bit longer than usual
where a rainstorm event could result in dangerous areas for unsuspecting
drivers or pedestrians. Typically we shut-off/winterize the irrigation sprinklers around base, but occasionally we may miss some in our sweep. They've since double-checked these systems and additionally asked facility managers to keep serving as our eyes and ears across Hurlburt to call in any possibly newly broken sprinklers or the formation of ice. The civil engineers will rapidly respond with personnel to either break up the ice mechanically, spread some sand, or otherwise mitigate the unsafe situation (mark area with cones).

Response from Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander.

East Gate Sentries (August 2010)
Concern:

The new EAST Gate is really nice- it provides shade and protection for the Security personnel-- what it doesn't do is provide airflow to those on duty. On a still day these dedicated personnel swelter in the heat and humidity, with no air movement.
How about providing them with a large fan to create some air movement?

Response:

Thank you for expressing concern for the well-being of our entry controllers. We share your concerns about their safety and working conditions during the extreme heat of the summer months. We are actively working with our end of year funding to install a permanent system to provide relief to our guards. In the interim, we have employed various temporary options that provide the proper level of air circulation while maintaining our guards' situational awareness and avoiding any potential safety hazards. I assure you that our posted sentries receive regular relief from their teammates while they recuperate inside their air conditioned gate shack. Furthermore, each permanent post is equipped with a refrigerator and running water to allow for further cooling options.

Our defenders appreciate your concern. We are sincerely grateful that the Hurlburt Field populace cares about their well-being. If you have further question, please contact Security Forces operations at 884-6415.

Response from Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander.

Soundside U.S. flag lighting (July 2010)

Concern:

I am concerned that the U.S. flag located near the Soundside entrance is not properly lit at night.

Response:

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. You are correct; the U.S. flag should be illuminated during hours of darkness. Members of the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron have identified the issue with the light installed at the base of the flag pole and have corrected it. Again, thank you for your patriotism and for allowing us the opportunity to correct this issue.

Response from Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Base Pool Locker Room (June 2010)
Concern:

During my lunch break today, I tried out the Hurlburt Pool for the first time which has a great set-up, is well-manned and very clean however, there is no AC in the locker rooms! There was almost no point in showering because you started sweating before even stepping out of the shower stall. We were told a work order was in with CE and has been for quite some time, but no estimated completion date. We also asked about getting some large fans and were told they weren't authorized. In a room as hot and humid as it is outside, it makes it quite difficult to get back into uniform and look presentable for work.

I'd also complain about the fact the only two outlets in the room are inoperable, but I rushed out of the locker room as fast as possible with wet hair to avoid falling victim to heat exhaustion.

Any way we can get CE out there to fix the issues?

Response:

Thank you very much for bringing this item to our attention. The air conditioning in both the men's and women's locker rooms, and the outlets in the women's locker room were fixed by our Civil Engineers on June 18. If you have any other issues, please let us know.

Response from Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Warehouse Bistro closing (June 2010)
Concern:

I must say that I'm very dismayed upon hearing the news that Warehouse Bistro (formerly J.R. Rockers and Commando Junction before that) on Simpson Ave will be closing. I have also heard that the new Soundside while a beautiful facility, will not be serving lunch. I think I can also safely speak for the many others that share my view and have been patrons of Warehouse Bistro / J.R. Rockers over the many years, that closing this facility is just plain wrong and a bad idea.
First, this will leave Hurlburt Field without a place to go for lunch where you can sit down and order from a menu and be served. Not only do Hurlburt Field personnel like to go there, but it also serves the many folks that are here TDY and also the many base civilians. I have never in my 23 years of Air Force active duty and 7 years as a retiree, seen or been to a base without this capability. Secondly, the facility is "on" the base. People who have a limited time for lunch simply cannot take the extra time go back and forth through the gates to go to the Soundside even if they did offer a lunch menu. Third, the facility has served the Hurlburt community in many other ways over the years for special functions such as promotion parties, top-three meetings, retirements, weddings and much more. It would be a travesty to let this place go.

Most people that I have spoken with about this agree with me that when it changed to Warehouse Bistro is what started its demise. Years ago when Ms. Terese Harris managed J.R. Rockers, that place thrived 7 days a week! Besides serving lunch and dinner and the numerous special functions, there were so many great weekly events such as "Kids Night", Wacky Wednesday's with Karaoke, the ever popular Friday get-togethers, not to mention Sunday football. This was "the" place for Air Commandos from General officers down to the youngest Airmen to meet and share camaraderie.

It was very evident to everyone that the reason that the place has done poorly over the last few years was due to poor management and their decisions. I propose an idea that could bring this place back to its former glory and so it can turn a profit. A huge profit actually if it were done correctly. First, I would get rid of the Warehouse Bistro name and theme since it never really was accepted anyway We then should restore it to its original name of Commando Junction. It should be remodeled into a place befitting of the heritage of Air Commandos past and present. Something with a warm and inviting interior with lots of wood and that is filled with Air Commando photos, paintings and other memorabilia. I'm sure that if the place would take that direction, much of that memorabilia needed would be donated. Can you picture it? In addition to this, I think we should start a base shuttle bus that runs twenty-four-seven for the dormitory occupants and base housing occupants as well. This way you could still bring in the bar business and still have an additional way for people to safely go home.

I understand that probably millions of dollars went into the new Soundside and it's no doubt a beautiful facility. But, while being new and fancy, it has its place for what it is and is not practical for the intended purpose of the club on-base. Please do not let this historical building just become part of Hurlburt Field's forgotten history. Let's bring it back better than ever. We "are" Special Operations and I think we deserve it. With the ever present high ops tempo and deployments, let us keep our Commando Junction...The place for Air Commandos to meet.

Response:

As difficult as it was to close the Warehouse Bistro, the operation has sustained financial losses of almost $10,000 per month for the past year made the decision compulsory. During the past two years, numerous attempts were made to change the theme, the menu, and entertainment offerings. It was hoped that moving away from the JR Rockers franchise into the more relaxed, local Warehouse Bistro format would pay dividends. But due to the high cost of utilities, we were unable to break even financially. During recent months, CES conducted a number of energy audits in an attempt to reduce power use at the Warehouse. Unfortunately, the age of the building and HVAC requirements prevented any energy cost reductions.

We understand that the Warehouse closure disappointed many of our patrons, but the operation could no longer sustain itself. All of our non-appropriated activities (bowling, golf, and clubs) are required by the AF to generate profits. The Warehouse had could not meet the profitability requirement. We regret the inconvenience the closure causes our customers, but it is hoped that they will take advantage of the other great dining opportunities offered on base by FSS and AAFES.

I think you'll find the lounge in the new Soundside is beginning to fit the bill of what you are looking for. It's relaxed, and is beginning to take on the historical motif you suggest. The lounge is open Monday thru Friday 1600-2200 and is fast becoming the new place for our Air Commandos to meet.

Response from Col. Mark Johnson, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Soundside eating arrangements (June 2010)
Concern:

Sunday Brunch is always repetitive. On special holidays there should be variety to the menu. The food in general is "atrocious," especially when you have to pay 21.95 each. On mother's day there was no omelet line, champagne, or anything else special to be worth the price.

Also, there is no dress attire at the Soundside. People show up in bathing suits, shower clogs, etc. while others are dressed in their Sunday best for brunch. Especially for the holidays there should be a dress code enforced to honor the occasion.

Response:

Thank you for the opportunity to take a look at our Sunday brunch and dress code. Because of your note, we've taken action on the Sunday Brunch menu. Every week we change the lunch offerings so there is not a repetitive menu. The breakfast staples of eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits & hash browns will always stay the same because they are traditional breakfast items and a customer favorite. Bottom line, different specialty items will be featured every Sunday.

We were unable to provide omelets for Mother's Day due to the high volume of customers. We'll look for other ways to make these special events truly "special" for our guests.

Regarding the dress code, there is not a set dress code for brunch; however, bathing suits or revealing attire will not be permitted. All patrons are expected to wear proper footwear and clothing. We appreciate customer inputs and are assured that the new management and club staff are working hard to make improvements. We want you to come back and give us another try. In that light, our Father's Day brunch on 20 June will be offered at the same price as our normal brunch and don't forget our member coupons for additional discounts.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Response from Col. Mark Johnson, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Summer Hire Program (May 2010)
Concern:

I am writing because it seems that there is a disturbing trend going on in the Summer Hire Program. It is really looking an awful lot like the only ones getting hired on are the children of E-9's and officers. This seems kind of backwards to me. Is there any truth to this? Do the individuals that pick the summer hires know these kids that they are hiring and is this why they were hired because of a wink and nudge between them and their friends who happen to be the kids parents? If this so, this is shameful and embarrassing for a military installation. There are other kids out there that deserve a chance and who may not have the "hook-up" of their parents knowing "someone."

Response:

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concern regarding the process used to chose our summer hire employees. To directly answer your question, no, there is no truth in the statement that the only ones getting hired are the children of E-9 and officers. To elaborate, let me explain the process to ensure everyone understands we hire students for the summer hire program.

All applicants for the summer hire program are reviewed for qualifications and eligibility. Some of the return applicants previously employed at Hurlburt can be requested by the organization for the current year based on the student's prior year performance. Civilian personnel grants those requests in accordance with 5 CFR 316.402(b)(7), which authorizes the reappointment on the basis of being a former temporary employee of the agency.

Once those students are placed, they proceed to fill the remainder of the positions using random numbers to select applicants based on their SSAN. This year's selectee's have been notified and will start work on June 14. If there are no-shows, the random selection method is again used to fill the vacancies.

The only screening done based on parental rank or position is to ensure the student is not employed in a position where the parent or family member who is either a federal civilian or military member has authority or control over the organization to which the student is assigned. To review any other criteria would violate merit principles.

Thanks for the opportunity to more clearly articulate how the summer hire process works.

Response from Col. Mark Johnson, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Sandy area near Commissary parking lot (April 2010)
Concern:

Over the past few months, many folks have been parking on what used to be grass in the area between Howie Walters Road and the Commissary parking lot (near the recycling bins). Over time, this has destroyed the vegetation and has turned the area into a sandy mess.
This morning, an airman got her car stuck in the sand when she parked it
there for PT and had to be towed out.
I feel that CE needs to rope the area off and allow it to grow back or convert it into a useable parking surface.

Response:

Thank you for taking the time to bring this to our attention. I have discussed the parking situation you have described with our engineers and we are working on a short term and long term fix for this parking problem. In the short term, we'll post some no parking/park in designated areas only signs. For the long term, we are putting together a project to pave the area and add to the number of parking spaces to support the demand in front of the Riptide. Thank you again, your comment and suggestion is part of the reason Hurlburt is such a great place to work and live; you care! You should be seeing attempts to improve the situation soon.

Response from Col. Mark Johnson, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander
 
Hurlburt Field  fitness center hours of operations (March 2010)
Concern:
So we are supposed to be "Fit to Fight", but only if we work 8 am -5 pm with an hour lunch (2 if you PT)? I work Midshift from about 4-4. Going to the Gym is one of the key ways I can stay fit. I don't mind having to wait an hour for the gym to open on weekdays, but not being able to go at all on the weekends is a bit ridiculous, due to two of the three gyms we have being closed. Why not make gym hours longer or put a swipe card type of deal on the door so personnel can access the gym 24/7? The gyms are open 24/7 when we are deployed, so why not here?

Response:
We have reviewed your concerns regarding Hurlburt Field's gymnasium operating times, and agree that a facility should be reasonably available to night shift personnel. Starting 15 March 2010 (through 1 May 2010), we will run a trial of new hours that should help mid-shift personnel use the Aderholt Fitness Center during their normal work schedules. We will extend the trial period based on overall usage. The new Aderholt hours are:
Aderholt Fitness Center Hours

0300-2330 - Monday- Friday
0600-2100 - Saturday
0600-2100 - Sunday

We will continue to run our Commando and Riptide Fitness Centers at their current hours. This is due to limited manpower; we recognize this creates a challenge for many of our gym patrons. We have looked at your suggestion for a swipe card system; however for safety reasons Air Force policy requires facilities to be staffed with at least two employees during operating hours.
Commanders have the option to seek installation commander approval through the Force Support Squadron to create a separate Unit Physical Training Facility. This option allows leadership the flexibility to have a "fitness area" for their members without adhering to restrictions of an installation fitness center. Commanders fund the equipment, provide the necessary space, and are responsible for maintaining the fitness area.

Response from Col. Mark Johnson, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander

Bear Population on Hurlburt Field  (September 2009)
Concern:
Please do something about the bear problem in Commando Village. My husband and I were in our drive way this evening. A bear came out of the tree right next to the next driveway over. This was less than ten feet from a door.
Eventually the bear went to the wooded area across from our house. This is the second time this holiday weekend that a bear has been in housing. Our kids play at the park right next to the wooded area. Some of the area kids play in the wooded area during the day.

We live in a fenced community, yet it is no longer safe. I understand that bears are territorial and moving them to a different area could place them at risk. I am more worried about the risk placed to our kids and families.

Response:
First of all, I am glad that your close encounter with one of Florida's largest land mammals turned out to be a scare and nothing more. It is important to realize that living in bear country has its benefits as well as its problems. Problems begin to occur as bears gain access to various types of food (residential garbage, bird seed, pet food bowls and fruit trees) in close proximity to homes and other habited areas. This causes a bear to lose its fear of people and begin to associate people with access to food.

Relocating bears into uninhabited areas doesn't normally solve the problem; this may not deter it from attempting to return to its natural home. While trying to return, it can endanger itself, motorists and others who may live work, or play along the route.

Our people are our most important assets. Hurlburt Field leadership and our environmental experts within the Civil Engineer Squadron have long recognized a need to inform the public regarding the propensity of bear activity on the Hurlburt Field installation. We have created a "Be bear aware" section on the front page of our Hurlburt Field Web site (www.hurlburt.af.mil). It contains tips and courses of action individuals should follow if they are involved in a close encounter such as yours.

Please use this information to educate your family on what to do should they see a bear. If you are experiencing an immediate bear emergency, please contact the base law enforcement desk at 884-7777. For non-emergency bear related inquiries, you can contact the Civil Engineering Natural Resources Office at 884-4651 during normal duty hours.

Response from Col. Gregory Lengyel, 1st Special Operations Wing commander








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