Base CC reflects on 2009

  • Published
  • By Col. Bruce McClintock
  • 96th Air Base Wing commander
As 2010 begins, it is appropriate to take stock of our efforts over the past year prior to focusing on our opportunities and challenges in 2010. As you know, shortly after I took command in 2008 we collectively established specific priorities for our wing and put into place processess to ensure success in our standing mission and priorities. The following four priorities have guided our efforts throughout 2009:

- Team Eglin... From Concept to Reality
-- Communicate, Cooperate, Create

- Improve Quality of Life for Team Eglin
-- Human Wellness
-- Infrastructure
-- Recognition of Effort

- Enhance Civic Outreach
-- Build/Strengthen Relationships with the Community
-- Advance our Shared Goals

- Make Eglin the Premier Installation for Resource Stewardship in all of Air Force Materiel Command

Over the past year we have all worked very hard and have made significant progress toward accomplishing our wing mission, priorities, and goals. Listing every accomplishment would take volumes, and that fact speaks volumes about our wing! Now let's highlight some of our accomplishments.

Team Eglin... From Concept to Reality--Communicate, Cooperate, Create:

As the largest force supporter on the largest DoD installation, it is a challenge to meet the needs of our large and ever evolving force, but we have not only met the challenge in 2009, you have exceeded expectations with innovative programs and constant emphasis on team work. Following up on our experience with hurricane and tornado events in 2008, we executed a $900K Base Emergency Notification system upgrade to ensure critical notification to Team Eglin.

We asked our valued warriors to communicate their needs and wants and their suggested dining facility improvements increased dining facility usage 15 percent and played a big role in our selection once again as the best dining facility in AFMC. In partnership with the 33rd Fighter Wing, we created an unprecedented new process for the movement of an entire wing. The MSG/33rd FW team saved a whopping $1.5 million in man hours and most importantly, made the transitioning Nomads experience a positive one, garnering Chief of Staff of the Air Force recognition.

We hosted our second Team Eglin Wingman Day to highlight our commitment to the Team concept and to highlight the many resources available. Internally, we had our first ever wing-wide training day in August, something you asked for and it proved to be a great success; look for another training day in early 2010. We also helped prepare for the most dramatic changes Eglin has seen in its 75-year history--the introduction of the Army 7th Special Forces Group and the Joint Strike Fighter. In the spring we led a BRAC transition road show to Fort Bragg where we were able to ease the anxiety of over 6,000 inbound soldiers, family members, and senior leaders by providing information on housing, job opportunities and base support. Every group and wing staff agency continues to engage with our Army partners for the significant mass move of personnel that will start as early as the spring of 2010.

We continue to partner with Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Headquarters Air Force to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement even as we work with the new 33rd FW to build up new facilities in preparation for the arrival of JSF personnel and aircraft.

Improve Quality of Life for Team Eglin:

-- Human Wellness:
We exceeded the Air Force standards on fitness testing by instituting the "Elite Fit" program to both reward and incentivize others to maximize their fitness potential. We evolved from a modest beginning of less than 10 people to now close to 250 people base-wide who are Elite Fit. We instituted a short, medium and long term exercise facility plan to address infrastructure shortfalls while we continue to advocate for a new fitness center. PT pads have been completed at Post'l Point and the East gate with plans for many more throughout the base.

We are also actively working on refitting parts of the former Oak Hill School into locker rooms and showers to take advantage of the proximity of the Oak Hill track. Thanks to our Short Notice Testing Program Initiative from last May, we were the only AFMC base ready to implement the new fitness program on January 1! Our medical group's H1N1 team worked numerous issues regarding prevention/treatment and deployed an education and treatment plan that served us well as we proactively addressed the H1N1 pandemic.

-- Infrastructure:
We've had a hallmark year with our execution of $507.3 million of BRAC funded construction in preparation for the newly morphed 33rd Joint Strike Fighter Training Wing and $300M MILCON for 7th Special Forces Group. We garnered architectural planning/design for a new $13.6 million BRAC medical facility expansion building which will be near the base hospital and we spent another $1.8 million for a 2,000 sq ft satellite pharmacy renovation located by our BX. Over $13 million was spent on Duke Field improvements to include repaved runway/aprons along with other projects. We also spent $7.4M on repairing and maintaining over 3,000 aging buildings across the base and despite the 25 percent budget cut customer service was rated 5.6 out of 6.0.

Many of our single Airmen moved into two modern dorms while we plan for the demolition of our older dorms in 2010. We expedited awards of 52 stimulus projects valued at $34 million. We also catalyzed improvements in 478 MFH units--we supplied $305K worth of materials for self-help projects, quickly secured $300K to replace six worn out housing playgrounds and identified three other playgrounds for replacement at a total cost of $450K; all with the intent of improving safety and enjoyment for military families. We received siting approval from SAF/IEI for two Child Development Centers, and we broke ground on the Emerald Coast Fisher House. Finally, in light of the extensive delays in housing privatization due to the JSF Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, we acquired millions of dollars from higher headquarters for immediate use to improve the existing housing while we continue to work though the next phase of privatization options.

-- Recognition of Effort:
We are still receiving notification of higher headquarters calendar and fiscal year annual awards for 2009, but the wing has won 54 so far! In addition, we have increased quality control for annual appraisals/performance awards, and this was based on direct feedback from you. Our recent NSPS process was extremely well done and we are confident in the results. We educated the senior staff of the entire wing on types of available awards and sought to increase the number of Notable Achievement Awards and Civilian Meritorious Service Awards.

We asked for the submittal of more individual award nominees for annual awards calls than ever before and instituted multi-tier mentoring programs to help supervisors write more competitive packages. We have also increased informal recognition programs at every level in addition to the formal programs already in place. We also implemented new ways for our community partners to recognize and support our Airmen and their families. I look forward to coming out to duty sections and recognizing outstanding efforts where they occur and have been very impressed by the innovative things everyone in the wing is doing.

Enhance Civic Outreach: Build/Strengthen Relationships with the Community/Advance our Shared Goals:

Eglin AFB enjoys tremendous support from the local community and that level of support has only been enhanced in the past year. We worked very hard with both state and local officials to expedite the construction of the SR 85 and 123 overpass--Governor Crist presided at the ground breaking ceremony in early December. We provided updates to the surrounding communities about the ongoing BRAC initiatives, including numerous speaking events and radio and TV interviews.

In September, we hosted a Community Covenant Ceremony welcoming the 7th Special Forces Group and dedicated a static display F-15 to the community for their support of the departing 33d Nomads. We participated in partnering meetings with environmental regulatory agencies to ensure we fully meet state guidance. The Medical Group partnered with the Okaloosa County Health Department on H1N1 vaccinations and related issues while initiating discussions on future collaboration with the Dean/Staff of FSU College of Medicine. Our Security Forces leadership held meetings with local law enforcement agencies to strengthen jurisdictional ties.

We encouraged the development of a warrior waiting area at NWF Regional Airport, we shared deployment information with support groups, and we continued to highlight the hard work our deployed warriors perform and the sacrifices they and their families make.

Make Eglin the Premier Installation for Resource stewardship in all of AFMC:

Our energy stewardship efforts are slowly building momentum. We orchestrated a $6.5 million energy savings contract which updated infrastructure to 87 base buildings and saving over $10 million in the out-years. We earned $81K in renewable energy credits while developing guidelines for new projects to be designed using specific energy saving criteria. We are also investing in the future--we awarded a contract to evaluate the feasibility of building a Biomass power plant on Eglin.

"Resource" stewardship has gotten a great deal of attention recently and rightly so; we must find ways to conserve and better utilize the resources we have, not just energy. Based on this broader definition we revised our priority to focus on "resource" stewardship in "AFMC" rather than just "energy" stewardship in all of" DoD." We recycled over 2000 tons of material and generated $326K in revenue and won the first-ever AFMC Qualified Recycling Award!

As stewards of DoD's largest land rehabilitation effort to protect wetland habitats and aquatic ecosystems, we authored an endangered Florida plant life protection plan which resulted in a $46K forestry and wildlife grant. In addition, we also received a $1.35 million grant from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to measure long-term restoration of longleaf pine sand hills. We exceeded our recovery goal for the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker becoming the single land owner in the whole Southeast to succeed. This is a revolutionary undertaking and speaks to our commitment in this area.

No great plan or set of goals are ever achieved without an enthusiastic team of professionals who come to work every day with a sense of dedication and commitment that matches their love for this great nation. I am so proud of all you do and all your great achievements and am happy to share your successes with everyone in the wing.

Thank you for your service to Eglin and our nation!