Town Hall Q&A


The purpose of this feedback is to provide a record of questions asked during the initial town hall meeting to be considered as changes are implemented throughout the wing, and also to provide questions for the remaining town hall meetings should they be needed.

Question: What time is the Delaware gate open? A concern was expressed that the gate was opening as late as 0738, although breakfast at the elementary school is served at 0720.

(Col VanHerck)
  • This concern has been addressed and the gate will be open no later than 0700 effective immediately

Question: I heard that the base theater is closing: why? When will it close? What are other options for families to view movies on and off base?

(Col O'Brien)
  • The base theater is closing as the result of a financial decision made my AFFES
  • The theater will be closing at the end of September.
  • We are pursuing a couple of different avenues to ensure that families can see movies affordably on and off base
  • We are working through our Military Affairs Committee partnership downtown to see if it would be possible to get more military discounts; military discounts are currently offered at some theaters in town, but not all
  • We also have special programs in our theaters sometimes through family support programs, and there is a license we can buy that will allow us to show those movies to groups in other venues such as the community center.

Question: There appears to be a lack of activities for spouses to do with small children when their service member is deployed, particularly children through age 3: ITT doesn't offer anything so there are swim lessons and swimming and that's about it. Can more activities be planned to help spouses who are struggling to entertain their children while their husband or wife is away?

(Col VanHerck)
  • We must do a better job of better communicating what is available
(Airman and Family Readiness Center)
  • It is true that there are limited services available for the under 5 age group, but we can explore possibilities to create more activities for them
(Spouse from the audience)
  • If you call "211," there is an opportunity through the Abilene community to receive child care a few times a week and to help those in need of financial assistance to receive additional help(Mrs. Bennett)
  • The Grace Museum has "tot spot" on Thursdays and Fridays, and it's geared toward children under the age of 5
Notes: To wrap up, Col VanHerck remarked that this problem may not be solved, yet, but thanked this individual for communicating her concern

Question: I've heard rumors that the base library is closing. Is this true?

  • (Col VanHerck) No, the library will receive continued support; many of our Airmen and their families use the library.

Question: I want to bring the lack of communication that exists among spouses and base leadership when a spouse's husband or spouse is away. What can we do to make communication better?

Answer: (Col VanHerck)
  • Get involved in the key spouse's program
  • Check out Gen Schwartz's wife's publication, Military Spouse 101
  • Commanders should encourage spouses to attend Right Start with their service member
  • When new families arrive at Dyess, spouses should be handed a list with the names of the leaders in their service member's squadron along with their contact information and encouraged to ask those leaders questions; these spouses should also be given contact information for key spouses and key websites

Question: Right now, we are relying on the people in uniform to share information with their spouses, and sometimes they are not. Would it be possible to make pre-deployment briefings mandatory for spouses?

(Col VanHerck)
  • Unfortunately, I cannot mandate that non-service members attend these briefings, but I can mandate that the service member be more aggressive in their communication with their spouse
  • We are looking at other avenues to improve this communication and expect to see changes in the very near future including letters being addressed and spent directly to spouses at home

Question: A lot of times, young Airmen are afraid to approach their leadership and commanders because they're intimidated. A while back, I heard that the "higher-ups" were told not to hang out with A1Cs, and that probably made the division even greater. What are your thoughts as the commander?

(Col VanHerck)
  • This kind of direction should not occur
  • We, as a team, need to do a better job of reaching out to young Airmen and their families who may be too intimidated to ask questions and don't yet know how to get involved
  • We must also get beyond generic communication: instant messaging, email, Facebook, in favor of face-to-face conversations to truly get to know one another and care for one another

Question: A lot of people are afraid to seek counseling because their concerned that it may impact their career or their spouse's career. What avenues do service members and their spouses have to seek counseling services?

(Tricare/Medical Group representative)
  • Military dependents can seek counseling 8 times without a referral; after 8 visit's you can be given a referral to continue care
  • Pamphlets with more information are available at the Tricare service center

Question: What can you tell me about the adult family life consultants and child and youth family life consultants on base?

(Adult family life consultant and Child and youth family life consultant)
  • This program provides tools for becoming more active listeners and effective communicators because it is important to be understood by our loved ones
  • Classes are also available for parenting and resiliency
  • Visits can be made at the Airman and Family Readiness Center during normal business hours and after hours at locations like the coffee shop and community center on base
  • No records are kept, protecting an individual's privacy when they use these services; one exception: when there are concerns about an individual's safety or threats of violence

Question: I wear the uniform, and my spouse is currently deployed. I have had a difficult time getting child care during ACC goal and family days.

(Child Development Center representative)
  • On ACC family days, if care is not provided, but parents receive a one hundred-percent credit to assist with the cost of obtaining alternate child care
  • On ACC family days, if the CDC finds that child care is needed by many, it will remain open and both military and non-military parents may bring their children in
  • On ACC goal days, if we are not open, but you need child care, there are family child care providers who can come to the home to provide assistance with child care; you can also contact the Child Development Center to inquire about 16 hours of free child care

Question: What can you tell me about housing privatization for on-base housing at Dyess?

(Col VanHerck)
  • On base housing will become privatized this spring, approximately March
  • Do not expect to see any immediate changes to the way you do business; more information will be communicated about this process in the near future
  • Your Basic Housing Allowance show up in your LES, but then forwarded on to be paid as rent

Question: As military members should we be more proactive?

(Col. VanHerck)
  • Yes!!
  • Communication is a two-way street. Active duty members have a responsibility to let their leadership know if there are any challenges their spouses may be facing. While I can't force spouses to get in touch with us, AD members have a responsibility to their families.

Question: Is there an accountability process to know if spouses are being contacted?

Answer: (Col. VanHerck)
  • One of the reasons we are doing these town hall meetings is to open up these lines of communications - to see where we need to improve.
  • The Key Spouse program is a commander's program and varies from squadron to squadron based on need.

Question: If an active duty member is PCS'd to Korea or deployed for year and has signed out of the base. Who follows up on the spouse and their family if they choose to stay here or come here in advance of their active duty spouse?

Answer: (AFRC, Col. Lostetter and Col. VanHerck)
  • Anyone AD member who out processes from Dyess AFB or another installation has to go through the AFRC and is briefed about the unaccompanied process.
  • Also a leadership issue - it's a commander's program where information has to come in through leadership so they know to keep in touch with the family or contact the gaining unit's commander to let them know about the situation.
  • Only way this works is communication.

Question: What are the rules about sex offenders living on base?

Answer: (JAG and Col. Vanherck)
  • The command takes these situations very seriously.
  • If the commander feels the safety of the base population is at risk - the commander can bar the person from living there.
  • If a person in the community is concerned - by all means contact leadership or the JAG office.
  • The commander is very sensitive to the safety of the base population.

Question: Will the key spouse program change? I've heard some key spouses have 100+ people and some have much less under them.

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • While it's a commander's program it's primarily a volunteer program.
  • I hope with large squadrons more people will want to participate, but I can't mandate a number because the needs of the squadron and participation vary.
  • Key thing to remember the responsibility does not fall on spouses - this is not your problem. It's a leadership and unit responsibility to take care of one another.

Question: Are there guidelines for commanders to run the key spouse program?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck and AFRC)
  • Training is provided by the AFRC.
  • Varies by squadron commander.
  • Check out Gen Schwartz's wife's publication, Military Spouse 101
  • Key spouses are not here to solve everyone's problems. They are here to help point spouses in the right direction if they need help - why we have all these great resources available to everyone.

Question: Can an active duty member become a key spouse?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • No reason why not.
  • Approach your commander and simply ask.

Question: What's required to be a key spouse?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • Be a spouse and want to volunteer - that's it!

Question: What are the rules to run a business on base?

Answer: (Housing and JAG)
  • Contact housing office in writing
  • Housing office will notify legal
  • If the business is denied you can ask the legal office why the request was denied.

Question: How do spouses ask to be contacted if their AD spouse does not give them the information?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • It comes down on leadership to get the communication out.
  • Plans to do more town hall meetings to open up these lines of communication

Question: Can Taps be played at an earlier time? It's tough for families with young kids living on base have children woken up.

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • Taps will now be played at 9 p.m.

Question: It would be nice to be able to call ahead to the commissary and pick up the food at the front.

Answer: (Col. Vanherck and MSG)
  • I know it's difficult for a spouse to bring multiple children to the commissary to shop - especially when the other spouse is deployed or a single parent.
  • Will bring this up to the commissary to see if there is a way to help parents.

Question: If moms have a playgroup can they advertise that on the base marquee?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • Yes.
  • Get in touch with base housing to advertise.

Question: We are having problems getting our child seen by the base pediatrician.

Answer: (Col. Vanherck, TRICARE and MDG/CC)
  • Recently had a great pediatrician PCS from Dyess.
  • Please give the new pediatrician an opportunity to build her practice here.
  • This is a critical where the commander has already highlighted with the MDG
  • If the process isn't working for you contact Tricare to request a waiver to be seen by an off base pediatrician, but ask to give the 7th MDG a chance.

Question: Where do you go if you are having a problem with reimbursement for medical travel?

Answer: (Tricare and Col. Vanherck)
  • Contact the Tricare walk-in center located on the first floor of the MDG. The walk-in center does not have a phone, so you will have to come in.
  • If the Tricare walk-in center here isn't able to help elevate your concerns in your chain of command.

Question: Can we improve the food vender quality AAFES has and can there be different options like Popeyes?

Answer: (MSG/CC)
  • We are aware and working with management about the quality already.
  • Franchise issues and population might be the reasons why a Popeyes might not be able to be placed here.
  • Trying to work to add a Subway.

Question: Can you add a suggestion box?

Answer: (Col. Vanherck)
  • Want to do more forums like this in the future to keep communication open.
  • Can contact the commander anytime via the website and the commander's action line where it's a direct line to the CC.
  • Anyone can contact Col. Vanherck.

Question: Who do you contact if you see something wrong?

  • 911, SFS, a commander, first sergeant - key is to contact someone
  • Military have a legal responsibility to report abuse.
  • Face to face interaction with your neighbors are key - try to step out of that digital mindset and communicate via analog.
  • Don't be afraid to say something

Question: What about fiancés and boyfriend/girlfriends?

  • While not entitled to DoD facilities, they need to be treated as part of the Dyess Family.
  • Can be included in Key Spouse functions.

Question: Can speed bumps be placed in base housing?

Answer: (MSG/CC)
  • Will be looked into.

Question: Does base housing do inspections? Junk in yards and high grass detract from a nice neighborhood.

  • Contact the housing office with any issues you have with neighbors.

Question: I am having difficulty getting in contact with a representative to discuss reimbursement for travel to medical care facilities when I am referred for treatment. Who can I get in touch with and what is being done to improve this process?

  • The Medical Group has met to discuss delays in processing patient travel payments. It is an issue, as it can currently takes up to 6 weeks to process, as thousands of travel reimbursements must be processed each month. The medical group is working with Travel Reimbursement Office leadership to determine if anything can be done to get the wait length down to 30 days. Additionally, if you have been having difficulty getting in contact with a representative to discuss travel reimbursement Just for additional information, there is a new 800 number for Prime travel that is manned by a Prime Travel Program receptionist. Prime beneficiaries may call 1-800-576-0375, and all incoming calls are documented.