Friday, August 15, 2008

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> Taking care of Airmen: housing update

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

Greetings, all! One of the most important obligations leaders at all levels have is to ensure the health and welfare of our Airmen. Part of this includes knowing where your Airmen live. Supervisors should know whether their Airmen live in the dormitory, base housing or off base.

Do you know where your Airmen live? When is the last time you made a morale check on a dormitory or base house to ensure your Airmen’s air conditioning works? Replacement of our aging dormitories is at the top of our military construction priority list. Until this happens, I can assure you that Brig. Gen. Schatz, 314th Airlift Wing commander, 314th Airlift Wing Command Chief Brinkley and I are constantly looking at what we can do for our dormitories. We are nearing completion on a renovation project on our two oldest dormitories. We spent nearly one million dollars upgrading carpet, ceilings, painting walls and furniture to improve living conditions.

Recently, the command chief has been asking the hard questions about our infrastructure and plumbing which supports the dormitories. We are looking for solutions to increase the number of washers and dryers for our unaccompanied Airmen to use. I can guarantee you we will not stop until we have solved this.

Let’s shift gears now for a base housing update. A little over a week ago, repair work began in earnest to fix all the roofs on base damaged from the storm that hit our base last spring. I know this work is long overdue. We are prioritizing the work, taking care of those residents with the most need first. I would like to thank those who have persevered through this process while funding was secured. Our privatized housing situation continues to be worked and monitored by the highest levels in the Department of Defense and Congress. We all anxiously await the completion of the pending purchase and sale agreement securing a new contractor—this is still on track for the fall. Until then, I can tell you that Tony Lovelette, Little Rock Family Housing Property Manager, and his local crew from American Eagle are doing everything within their power to provide a comfortable and safe living environment for our Airmen. Thanks, Tony. Together, and working as a team, we will continually strive to make improvements in this area.

Finally, thanks to all for your service and leadership. We continue to train and deploy the world’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters while making Little Rock Air Force Base the gem of central Arkansas. Combat Airlift!

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