First commander’s call of year addresses looming challenges

By Lea Johnson

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The first commander’s call of 2013, held Jan. 8, provided Airmen and government civilians with a wrap-up of 2012 and a peek into what is coming this year.

To start the briefing, Master Sgt. Staci Funk, 21st Security Forces Squadron, instructed the audience on how security is everyone’s responsibility. “We can’t do our daily job without input and help from everybody. Everyone must be aware of their surroundings and they must notify appropriate personnel if they notice anything unusual or if they notice unauthorized personnel in the area,” she said.

Funk also discussed how to respond in the event of an active shooter. You have two choices, she said, run or hide. “Seek cover if you can’t get out of the area. Use whatever is available to put as much distance and protection between you and the shooter. Use things such as furniture, doors, brick walls, or a car block of an engine,” she said.

Active shooter scenarios are practiced regularly as part of the wing’s initiative for ongoing preparedness. It is important for everyone to take these exercises seriously and participate as though it is a real event, she said.

Just as physical security on base is everyone’s responsibility, so is online security.

Walberto Lugo, 21st Space Wing anti-terrorism office, informed the audience about the risks social media presents to operational security. “Social networking is a good way to share information but it’s not a secure means. It’s not designed to be. My caution to you is be very careful what you post online because once it’s there, it does not go away,” he said.

If Airmen have any concerns or see something suspicious, they can make an Eagle Eyes report by calling 556-4000.

Social media, when used correctly, can be an effective means of communication. Capt. Holly Hess, 21st SW public affairs office, briefed about several new social media tools the commander is using to communicate with Airmen.

First is the commander’s Facebook fanpage. “It’s managed directly by the 21st Space Wing commander,” Hess said. “It’s a way to share thoughts and feedback direct to leadership and get feedback from him.”

Additionally, Hess said, because it is a fanpage, the commander cannot see the pages of those who “like” his page. The page can be found by searching “21st Space Wing commander” on Facebook.

The second new social media tool is the My Military Communities application. The smartphone application is available for free on Apple and Android devices. The app includes a base calendar, phone directory, and direct pushbuttons to the operator and Airmen Against Drunk Driving.

Peterson is one of 33 bases currently active on the app.

The environment was another subject of the briefings.

Bob Fant, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, reminded the audience of the importance of being a good steward to the environment, both on base and off. “We’re to keep the environment in good working order. Being good stewards of the environment keeps us dominating the high ground,” he said.

Recycling is a piece of that process and the 21st CES is making it easier for everyone to participate. Single-stream recycling bins were installed at Buildings 1, 3, 1876 and 2025 last April. This spring, more bins will be put at Buildings 350, 893, 895 and 2012.

“If it’s an aluminum can, if it’s paper, if it’s a plastic bottle, you can put it in this one recyclable container and we’ll take care of the rest of it,” Fant said.

When it was Col. Chris Crawford’s, 21st SW commander, turn to take the stage, he applauded the audience for their outstanding work in 2012. “We have phenomenal accomplishments across the board in every area of the wing. We are clearly dominating our personal high ground,” he said.

Those accomplishments include 47 individual awards at the Air Force Space Command level or higher, $8 million a year of energy savings at Thule Air Base, a new child development center at Pete East and a perfect score during the 21st Medical Group Personnel Reliability Program inspection.

Looking ahead at the year 2013, Crawford said Airmen have many challenges and uncertainties facing them.

In the next few months, the 21st SW will participate in their Consolidated Unit Inspection. Crawford said the CUI will happen sometime between April and June and could last up to two weeks.

“We’ll have a phase zero inspection,” he said. “Fundamentally, it’s a compliance based inspection. We’ve already begun to prepare for it, we’ve performed multiple reviews and many of you have done fantastic work.”

According to Crawford, the inspector general will be grading the wing on how effectively we grade ourselves.

In addition, there will be one emergency management event. Airmen can expect more exercise scenarios in the coming weeks to prepare for the inspection.

The 21st SW will celebrate its 21st birthday in May. Crawford said more details are coming, but Airmen can expect many activities and visits from senior leaders honoring the legacy of the wing.

This summer, the wing will see many changes in leadership and will say goodbye to Crawford, Col. Jeffrey Flewelling, 21st SW vice commander, and several other senior leaders.

“I ask you to be involved, help out, and be patient during the leadership transition. Do what you did when I came in and show us your professionalism,” Crawford said.

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