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News > Commentary - Straight Talk: Gate safety and reducing waste
Straight Talk: Gate safety and reducing waste

Posted 3/17/2011   Updated 3/17/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander

3/17/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- We have had a busy week here at Hanscom with all the Base Readiness Exercise practice. Thanks to everyone for your patience and support. We will be conducting a series of hot washes next week to improve our performance processes, so if you would like to provide input, please do so.

I did want to take a moment to remind everyone about gate safety. We have had an unfortunate series of accidents at the gates recently where Hanscom members have driven into the gate barriers. We have had five incidents in the last few weeks where the drivers hit the barriers with sufficient force to deploy air bags. The result was closing the gate for a short time and redirecting traffic. The barriers are there to protect you and the base by making difficult for intruders to speed past the gate guards. Please be careful around this important force protection capability as you enter and exit the gate.

Our reader today inquires about the government process for disposing of materials we no longer use.

Question: I happened to be in the 1105A warehouse the other day and I saw a huge pile of sleeping bags. Then there are the white boards, chairs, metal desks, bookshelves and wooden furniture. There was also a pile of chemical boots, most never used and still in their plastic bags. I'm not sure of their fate. I saw restaurant-grade kitchen equipment in the warehouse that will someday be disposed of, but for now, it sits idle. Can this stuff go to the shelters, churches or schools?

There's something wrong with the waste being demonstrated here. If a small base like Hanscom does this, I cannot image the scale of the waste across the entire Air Force. What can be done to remedy this apparent waste?

Response: Disposing of government materials is a complex process with way too many rules, but we do our best to reutilize what we can. A quick rundown on the specific items you addressed:

The sleeping bags will be turned into Defense Reutilization and Marketing System (DRMS) for potential resale and reutilization. The chemical boots are expired or unserviceable and will be sent to JEAP (DRMS for chemical warfare equipment). We try to find a good home for the serviceable wooden furniture that is held for potential reuse. In the past, we have issued or given furniture to AFJROTC units and recruiting stations. The same goes for the metal desks and furniture. As for the kitchen appliances, they will be repurposed by the 66th Force Support Squadron.

We can all make an effort to reduce waste by taking better care of the materials we have, not constantly seeking new items and looking for ways to repurpose items when they no longer serve the original intent. This is as true in our own homes with items we purchase ourselves as it is in the office with items purchased with tax dollars. We can slowly change the American culture to make reducing, reusing and recycling a national habit. Thanks for asking!

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