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Commander's Corner

Posted 8/5/2013   Updated 8/5/2013 Email story   Print story

    

8/5/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Commander's Corner is a forum for the Dyess community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Dyess directly to Col. Glen VanHerck, 7th Bomb Wing commander. Each week the Dyess Public Affairs office solicits questions via the official Dyess Facebook page, offering people an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers directly from the wing commander.

QUESTION

Margery Franklin McKeown - I'm new here on base and I don't know anyone to ask, but what's with the movie theater? Is it up and running? Every time I pass by it it's vacant and I don't see it on the list of AAFES movie listing online. Thank you in advance :)
Col. Glen VanHerck
Col. Glen VanHerck
  RESPONSE

Welcome to Dyess, Margery! I hope you and your family are settling in--I believe we live in one of the most military-friendly communities in the world, and I am confident that Abilene will begin to feel like home for you in no time. I received a similar question through the Commander's Corner a few weeks ago, so please allow me to recycle my answer to provide you with the information you are looking for. On May 20, I posted the following explanation on why the base movie theater has closed:

"The base theater was closed last September as the result of a financial decision made by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. This was not a local issue for AAFES, as it has affected many installations worldwide. Movie distributors are converting from film rolls to a digital format, which is more cost-effective for movie distributors, but not for theater owners. Switching from traditional film projectors to digital equipment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; furthermore, attendance at the movie theater was not very strong and did not break even with operational costs. For those reasons, AAFES determined that investing the necessary funds to make the switch to a digital format would not be a logical business decision. While the theater will not be used to show movies, the building itself is used on a daily basis, as it provides an ideal location for our Airmen to conduct training, host guest speakers and hold retirement, graduation and various other ceremonies."

I'd also like to encourage you to visit one of the four off-base movie theaters located in town, one of which is a drive-in theater, which you don't see very often anymore! Thanks for your question.
 
 
QUESTION

Mike Larson - I walk/jog/bike on base quite a bit using the sidewalks, and I'm 6' 3" tall. Is there any way to get the low-hanging limbs trimmed so I don't keep getting a branch to the head or a face full of spider web when it's dark? I understand that anyone witnessing my reaction and sees me running amuck and screaming like a little girl with my arms flailing uncontrollably might find it comical or amusing, but it's a detriment to my manliness.

Col. Glen VanHerck
Col. Glen VanHerck
  RESPONSE

Master Sgt. Larson - While I'm certainly not as tall as you, I wouldn't want people nearby by to see my reaction if I had a face full of spider web while jogging, either. Currently we have a project ongoing to remove all of the dead trees on base. Additionally, just last week, I asked the Mission Support Group and Civil Engineers to trim the trees impeding the sidewalks. If you have a specific location that has not been trimmed please call our Civil Engineer help desk at 696-4154, and tell them specific locations where there are low-hanging tree branches, they have assured me they can take care of them for you. Keep up the hard work! I'm glad hear you're staying fit to fight!
 
QUESTION

Trina Daigle - At one of the Town Hall meetings, several people had questions surrounding a handful of Airmen who had been arrested for sexually related crimes involving children. One Airmen in particular was a concern to many because he was seen often at the elementary school our children attend, living on base etc. At the time we were told nothing could be done because he had not been convicted of anything. I was shocked now that he has been convicted to run into him outside the gym this morning while taking my children to swim classes. Is this the type of personnel the Air Force is retaining?

Col. Glen VanHerck
Col. Glen VanHerck
  RESPONSE

Trina - It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a particular case in a public forum, but please be assured that the safety and security of base personnel and dependents is my top priority. I take potential threats against our children and all base personnel very seriously. To this end, Dyess commanders at every level have moved aggressively to hold accountable those who have committed crimes targeting children. This aggressive action has included courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or administrative discharge procedures for individuals convicted of offenses in civilian courts. However, even when an individual has been convicted of a serious offense by a civilian court, Air Force Instructions govern how, and if, the member can be separated from the Air Force. For example, depending on a member's length of service or the type of discharge sought, a member proposed for discharge could be entitled to a hearing before a board that would determine if the member is discharged. These boards are similar to trials and members facing them are entitled to various rights including legal representation. So, while I am passionate about protecting the welfare of our dependents, I also have to protect the rights of Air Force members that have been afforded to them by laws and regulations.
 
QUESTION

Michelle King - I will continue with trina daigles concern and ask: if the city of abilene will not keep our children safe from predators, what is dyess doing to give us that sense of security that many feel comes from those gates? If convicted offenders are allowed to continue life as normal, what example does this set to the families who rely on the airforce to "care about the safety and well being of dependants"? We, as parents, can only do so much to protect our children, especially when many of us have a spouse deployed or working for the "mission" all hours of the day and night.
Col. Glen VanHerck
Col. Glen VanHerck
  RESPONSE

Michelle - I have significant latitude to bar non-Air Force members from access to the base and I routinely exercise this authority to protect the base from threats. Specifically, I have frequently barred access to individuals who are registered sex offenders. For example, if a truck driver who is a registered sex offender must enter the base to deliver goods, he or she must first obtain a waiver containing express permission from me in order to do so. Each such instance is handled on a case-by-case basis, and the determination is based on the individual's circumstances. Your safety is of utmost importance to me, and I would never knowingly put you or your family in a potentially unsafe environment. If you have any concerns about a specific person, please let me know privately so I can address them.
 
QUESTION

James Carey - Are there any updates the status of the completion of the dorms beings renovated, also how is it being decided as to who will be receiving a room once they're completed? One last questions since the sequestration how will future renovations be taken for the other dorms? Thank you.
Col. Glen VanHerck
Col. Glen VanHerck
  RESPONSE

James - I am excited to announce that we expect the renovation of Dorms 6136 and 6137 to be completed this October. Each dorm will have 20 suites and 52 bedrooms. But before you can occupy the rooms, the unfunded portion must be resourced, providing new furnishings and appliances. Air Combat Command is currently working this issue. We would like to renovate Dorms 6126 and 6127 next, and then 6113 and 6114. However, those projects are currently not funded, though we are hopeful for continued support due to the condition ratings of our dormitories. It is without a doubt that our younger ranks do a lot of the heavy lifting around here---we are thankful for your service and want to give you the support you deserve.



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