By Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Commanders and senior enlisted leaders have many additional responsibilities required by their position, one being to ensure the quality of life of Airmen who reside in unaccompanied housing, more commonly referred to as dorms.
This task can be one that is uncomfortable for both the Airman whose dorm is being inspected as well as the senior leader. Some may feel inspections and dorm visits are invasions of privacy and that Airmen should be allowed to live how they choose. However, a closer look at the intent for the visits may ease some of this uneasiness.
According to Air Force Instruction 32-6005, Unaccompanied Housing Management, “Air Force dormitories and how we manage them are critical to the development process of unaccompanied Airmen.” The AFI also states that an Airman’s personal residence should be modern, functional, well maintained and comfortable, as well as promote pride, professionalism and personal dignity.
In order to comply with the AFI, the installation policy for the dorms is that first sergeants should visit monthly and commanders should visit quarterly.
During these visits, leaders are looking to ensure the dorms are meeting their Airmen’s needs.
Recently, 50th Space Wing leadership conducted just such a visit and discovered that one Airman’s room had an issue with the heating and cooling system. Leadership noted the issue and can now bring this up to the building managers to ensure Airmen are provided functional residences.
Another thing leaders are looking for is to see how their Airmen are living. This can be an indicator of how Airmen are adjusting to Air Force life.
“During health and morale and welfare checks we ensure our Airmen are living in a healthy environment,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Devine, 4th Space Operations Squadron first sergeant. “We can see how they’re coping with being away from home. We can also check on the quality of the environment they’re living in and make sure that it’s suitable. This is directly related to the mission. If it’s a good environment then the member will be more focused and productive in the work center.”
An added benefit to dorm visits is that Airmen may feel more comfortable approaching leadership with issues.
“It is absolutely critical to have a presence in the dorms,” said Devine. “In my position, it demonstrates that I am available if they need me. And that means you have to be there more than once a month. I try to visit regularly and not just during duty hours. I think this shows I am available to talk about personal life issues, that I’m truly there to help them solve problems.”
The highlight for some Airmen is the selection of the Dorm-of-the-Quarter. Each quarter, senior leaders select the best dorm room and recognize the Airman with a certificate and a gift card from the command chief, which is similar to base housing’s Yard of the Month award program. This quarter’s award winner will be announced during the wing awards breakfast ceremony here Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.
“This was my first dorm visit with the 50th and by and large I found that our Airmen are doing a great job of keeping their suites neat and orderly,” said Col. Stanley Stafira Jr., 50 SW vice commander. “This is a testament to both the Airmen and their leadership for providing the focused attention needed to be good stewards of our resources. I especially look forward to recognizing our Dorm-of-the-Quarter winner as this Airman truly stood out among the rest.”