Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 23, 2017 at 4:19pm

McChord Thrift Shop hosts dress sale

The McChord Thrift Shop has a lot to offer, such as consignment and Operation Diaper Drop. Photo courtesy of the McChord Thrift Shop

The community might not realize there is a hidden gem of a place to shop right in their backyards. The McChord Thrift Shop has so much more to offer than one might think. The thrift shop is entering its 59th year of operation and giving back to the community. The McChord Spouses Club owns the McChord Thrift Shop, and while they do have three paid staff members, 90 percent of their staff is made up of volunteers, some of which have been there for over 40 years. The McChord Spouses Club and the thrift shop strive to give back to the community in as many ways as they can. This year, they are thrilled to roll out some new events and programs to continue to help support their community in new ways.

On March 10 from 5:30-8 p.m., the McChord Thrift Shop will be hosting an exclusive formal dress sale. With the generous donations from a dress shop in Tacoma, the McChord Thrift Shop has 92 formal dresses up for sale. The dresses range in size from 0-12 and will be sold for just $15-$25 during the event. Photos of the dresses that will be for sale can be found on their Facebook website. The McChord Thrift Shop is ecstatic to be able to have this wonderful event that offers gorgeous dresses at a reasonable price.

The McChord Thrift Shop frequently receives donations of items they cannot resell such as packages of diapers or baby wipes. Assistant manager Anna Kearney realized that people in the community still need such items and did not want to see them get thrown out. She created Operation Diaper Drop and implemented the program almost two weeks ago. The goal of the program is to have donated baby items available for pick-up 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "Anyone can stop by and take what they need, and maybe down the road, donate leftover items back for someone else to use," said thrift shop manager Jennifer Bayes. There are two cabinets located in the front of the store full of items like diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, breastfeeding pads, and even bottles. "It is all absolutely free," said Bayes. "We would rather see them used by someone who needs them instead of throwing them out."

The formal dress event and Operation Diaper Drop are only two of the positive ways that the McChord Thrift Shop gives back to their military community. For the past several years, the McChord Spouses Club has proudly given out nearly $35,000 in scholarships and welfare requests. They also happily take consignments in the thrift shop, knowing that for some people, consignment is a way to supplement their income. Bayes is extremely proud of the McChord Thrift Shop for all that they do, but also because of the positive environment in which she works. "We have dedicated volunteers who all strongly agree with giving back to our military community," she said.

McChord Thrift Shop, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday and first Saturday of each month; 4-7 p.m., Tuesday nights, Building 717, corner of 4th and Battery Street, JBLM - McChord Field, 253.982.2468, Facebook.com/McChordThriftShop

February 23, 2017 at 4:16pm

PCSing your EFMP

The Exceptional Family Member Program helps military families with issues and needs surrounding disabilities. Courtesy photo

A permanent change of station can be a stressful event for military families. For airmen who have family members with special needs, a PCS can be even more stressful due to concerns about whether proper medical care will be available. Fortunately, the 62nd Medical Squadron's Exceptional Family Member Program is here to help families through the process.

EFMP is a Department of Defense program with the goal of ensuring that, prior to relocating to a new assignment, military family members' special needs can be met at their new assignment.  Enrollment in EFMP is mandatory for family members who have a life-threatening or chronic condition requiring follow-up support more than once a year or for those receiving specialty care.

When an airman with an exceptional family member receives an assignment for a PCS, or when any airman with dependents receives an overseas assignment, the airman must coordinate with the EFMP office to initiate a relocation clearance process.

"The clearance process can take anywhere from three weeks to three months, dependent upon the gaining base, complication of family member needs and whether the documentation needs to be reviewed by the major command," said Lois Fisher, 62nd MDS EFMP special needs coordinator.

Because of that, Fisher said, airmen need to contact the EFMP Family Member Relocation Clearance Coordinator as soon as they receive their assignment notification in order for the process to begin.

The reason the process can be a long one is because members may have to make follow-up medical appointments in order to get proper paperwork filled out by their medical provider or specialists, a face-to-face screening with the EFMP special needs coordinator may need to take place, and a Facility Determination Inquiry may need to occur at the gaining military treatment facility, said Fisher.  The FDI is a review of all the paperwork submitted to the gaining MTF and can take up to 14 days before a travel recommendation is made.

If family member travel is recommended, the airman will receive a travel clearance and can then proceed with the assignment process.  If travel is not recommended, however, then there are a few options available for the member.

"The sponsor can ask for the assignment to be canceled," said Fisher. "Additionally, the sponsor can pursue a reassignment, or the Air Force Personnel Center may pursue the reassignment through a ‘pinpoint' process, putting out the family circumstances to other bases that may be able to provide the necessary care for the family members."

Fisher added that AFPC may determine that the sponsor will still be assigned to the gaining base and the family member would not receive command sponsorship at the gaining location.

One additional option would be for the member to appeal the non-recommendation.

"An appeal requires new and substantial information other than what has already been submitted on the previous forms," said Fisher. "So perhaps the original document said a patient needed to be followed by a psychiatrist for a mental condition in order to get medication renewals.  New information may be that the provider who completed that form would add his professional opinion that a psychiatric nurse practitioner would also be able to prescribe the medications for that family member."

Fisher added that there are common misconceptions about the EFMP process as a whole.  One is that if a family member is enrolled in EFMP then the sponsor will not be able to PCS.  But Fisher said that is not in fact the case.

"The sponsor will be able to PCS, but possibly not to the desired or assigned base," said Fisher. "AFPC takes into consideration the training of the sponsor and where the sponsor can best be utilized."

Fisher offered a friendly reminder for anyone who may be going through a travel clearance screening.

"Remember," she said, "it's always about the mission of the Air Force."

For more information about EFMP, visit airforcemedicine.af.mil/EFMP/, or call the FMRCC at 253.982.3350.

February 23, 2017 at 1:25pm

McChord flight kitchen

Airman 1st Class Arlena Harges, 627th Force Support Squadron food services apprentice, prepares a box meal in the McChord flight kitchen, Feb. 14, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

Members of Team McChord never have to worry about missing a meal because the 627th Force Support Squadron flight kitchen is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing boxed meals at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The flight kitchen prepares boxed meals that are available to flight crews, dorm residents, active-duty members paying cash and Department of Defense employees who would not be able to eat at the Olympic Dining Facility during regular hours of operation.

"We provide more than nine thousand meals annually to Team McChord personnel," said Staff Sgt. Cody Christensen, 627th FSS flight kitchen noncommissioned officer in charge.

The entrées for the boxed meals include different types of sandwiches including turkey, ham and roast. They also have beef, breaded chicken strips and a chef salad, as well as breakfast items. The supplemental options are often pre-contained food items such as chips, cookies, fresh fruit and your choice of beverage.

The flight kitchen offers two ways airmen can order meals.

"Usually, Team McChord airmen call in for the ground meals," said Christensen. "For the flight meals, the passenger terminal and the aircrew fax us the information for the meals."

There are few differences between the flight kitchen and the Olympic Dining Facility.

"The first difference is that we are open twenty-four hours," said Christensen. "They have set hours for their meals and they do not have a midnight meal."

According to Airman 1st Class Arlena Harges, 627th FSS food services apprentice, another difference she said is the flight kitchen is more like a grab-and-go with salads and sandwiches, while the dining facility has a set menu with a grill and hot bar.

The flight kitchen sometimes receives big orders and that can be challenging for a small shop of five airmen.

"We only have five airmen including myself that work here in the flight kitchen," said Christensen. "Receiving big orders can be challenging because of the manning here. My four airmen are all on the Panama (schedule) of 12-hour shifts with only two working at a time."

Flight kitchens vary from base to base. Some bases have their flight kitchen attached to their dining facility, while others like McChord field have their flight kitchen located on the flightline for easier access for aircrew and maintenance airmen.

"Our mission is to prepare and sustain the force," said Christensen. "Whenever the phone rings or a fax comes through our office, no matter how big or small the order is, we get the job done."

The flight kitchen has a direct impact on the mission by providing convenient meals to those who need a meal no matter the time of day. For more information on ordering and food options at McChord's flight kitchen, call 253.982.2828. 

February 17, 2017 at 12:11pm

627th LRS keeps wing fueled for flight

Senior Airman Mason Boyd (Left) and Airman Katara Williams, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron, fuels apprentices, add fuel to a fuel truck on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Feb. 7. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

The 627th Logistic Readiness Squadron Fuels flight provides fuel to the 48 C-17's at the 62nd Airlift Wing on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but they do more than deliver the fuel to aircraft, they make missions possible.

The fuels flight provides support to not only our aircraft, our government vehicles, civilian aircraft that land here and deployment rotaters, they also provide support to the President of the United States.

"It's a cliché, but we always say without fuel, pilots are pedestrians," said Master Sgt. Keith Grady, 627th LRS fuel operations section chief. "Without fuel these planes can't get off the ground.

Grady oversees the fuel distribution element and fuel hydrants on base.

"Fuels distribution is in charge of issuing the fuel to the aircraft, transporting liquid oxygen carts as well as filling those carts with liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen," said Grady.

As far as fuel capabilities go, they have two pump houses, which both can dispense 2,400 gallons each, per minute.

They also have 11 re-fuelers, which have 6,000 gallon tanks that can dispense up to 600 gallons of fuel per minute each.

"On an average day, we deliver between 75,000 to 200,000 gallons of fuel," Grady said. "That fuel is delivered to anywhere between six and twenty aircraft a day."

The process for re-fueling starts as a simple phone call from the 62nd Maintenance Group Maintenance Operations Center.

"One of our fuel service center controllers will log that request into our fuels manger defense program and at the same time they'll dispatch an operator to take a vehicle out," said Grady. "They will hand a vehicle clip board to that operator, the operator will check the paperwork, go out to the vehicle and do an inspection then drive out to the aircraft.

"They will get marshalled in, hook up the single point, ground and bond the aircraft and do all the preparation to fuel the aircraft."

Grady said during that time, there's a lot going on and the fuel distributor is always checking for safety hazards.

"They're pumping a lot of fuel and very fast," Grady said. "It can be very dangerous, so they are always checking their environment, but the whole process takes approximately an hour from the time the call comes in."

Before the fuel enters any aircraft, the fuel must be tested for safety and quality.

Staff. Sgt. Jason Drobish, 627 LRS fuels laboratory NCOIC, does just that.

"We are the first line of defense for any contamination within the fuel," said Drobish. "At the very first point where the fuel enters the base we sample and test the fuel for any additives and make sure those are within range."

The fuel comes from a barge that comes from a commercial contractor off base and then it is pumped through a pipe line on base.

"We are constantly testing our equipment throughout the month to make sure that the fuel meets specifications for water and additives," said Drobish. "We take a gallon sample, run them through some test membranes and we are able to see particular contamination such as sand or dirt or rust - things from the pipes."

It's beyond imperative that the fuel is tested and quality controlled.

"It's an important job," said Grady. "Just knowing the fuel that were putting on the aircraft is safe allows the plane to operate without any issues emanating from the fuel."

Providing the life blood to these aircraft, is the mission of the 627th LRS fuels flight and it is a mission they take very seriously.

February 17, 2017 at 12:08pm

ATOC keeps the mission moving

Staff Sgt. Christopher Craig (center), 62nd Aerial Port Squadron ramp services technician, pulls a ramp up to a transient aircraft, Feb. 8 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

Whether its cargo, passengers, military aircraft, or transient aircraft the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron Air Terminal Operation Center has a hand on every aircraft that lands on McChord Field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

ATOC coordinates all outside requests for agency support and information and distributes them to the different sections throughout the aerial port for proper coordination.

"We are the command and control for the 62nd APS," said Master Sgt. Brandon Banks, 62nd APS ATOC superintendent. "We deal with worldwide channel missions, contingency missions and aeromedical evacuation missions. In this section, all flow of cargo and passengers being handled by the aerial port is managed, accounted for and tracked by us."

More than 30 personnel work in the ATOC. Working around the clock, providing military logistical functions assigned to aerial port.

"We go out to every aircraft and find out what they need from the aerial port," said Banks. "Within the APS, we manage the passenger terminal, ramps services section (loading and unloading of cargo), fleet services (cleaning the aircraft), and the special handling section (handling explosives). We go out to every aircraft and kind of direct all those sections of the APS."

Ron White, 62nd APS ATOC flight chief, said here at McChord, the workload at the ATOC can be a challenge sometimes.

"We support the Army and move a lot of their passengers and cargo," said White. "Our joint inspectors, inspect their gear and a lot of the challenges comes from the different verbiage and language we each use.

"A lot of the contingency missions we deal with are from the Army, to load their cargo and passengers. We have specific requirements that we need done ahead of time for the mission to flow properly and the Army doesn't recognize that because they don't use our processes, but we still manage to push through the challenge and get the mission done."

Another challenge that adds to the operations center workload is the deployment tempo.

"APS airmen deploy a lot," said White. "So with a six-month deployment, we might see the airman for three months out of the year because of training and schooling they may need before they go. So it's a challenge to keep them qualified and get them back in the rotation. At ATOC we help the APS flow properly, and with the deployment tempo, there can be sections that are low manned, so we kind of take over and divert people wherever to make the mission happen."

In order to work in the ATOC, airmen are required to have a good knowledge of all the sections within the port.

"We do not get pipeline students in ATOC," said Banks. "There is a requirement that the individual is supposed to be knowledgeable in all the other sections to be able to work ATOC. Those selected to come work ATOC don't have a lot of time to get spun up on everything, so they need to know the basics about every job. A lot of the slots in ATOC are one deep, so training consistently is a struggle, but we still get the job done."

White is a retired aerial port airman and loved the job so much that he decided to continue giving back by working in the ATOC as a civilian.

"I absolutely love working at that the port and watching all the great things we do here," said White. "I retired out of here, I was away from it for two years after I retired and missed every minute of it. ATOC is the focal point for the other sections, and you can't run the APS without it. You need someone to coordinate and direct everything, and ATOC is the brains of the operation."

February 17, 2017 at 10:11am

McChord Pub gets new look

The newly renovated McChord Pub is now open inside the club on UTA Saturdays from 1600 to 2100, as well as Thursdays and Fridays. Photo credit: SSgt. Daniel Liddicoet

Located within the Club at McChord Field lies the newly renovated McChord Pub, giving airmen a different dining option or a place to order drinks.

Stocked from the well with a selection of a beer on tap, the grill has a pub like feel.

"We almost look like a real bar," said Dorte West, manager of the McChord Field Club.

After 11 months of renovations costing nearly $500,000, new additions include local artwork, a genuine wood floor, and new televisions mounted to the walls give the space a contemporary feel. A painting by Tacoma native and famed artist Dale Chihuly is set to be displayed soon, said West.

Yet the spirit of an old military watering hole remains, with squadron zaps affixed to the mirror behind the bar.

"We have a lot of retirees coming in, and we try to get them to try something different with the new menu," said West.

The bar has a shortened menu, though visitors can order from the larger menu offered at the McChord Grill which underwent renovations at the same time. It's open for people working on Joint Base Lewis McChord during the week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

When looking for something fast yet healthy, the McChord Grill is becoming a sought after option.

"If I'm over here, this is an option for sure," said Staff Sgt. Karissa Basalyga, a member of the 1st Weather Squadron. "It's like a genuine restaurant, not like the dining facility."

The hope is that sentiment is shared across the many servicemembers on JBLM. West has plans on increasing the bar menu, and holding more special events.

The annual Homebrew Competition was recently held, and a Mardi Gras celebration is scheduled for Feb. 24. As with any venture of this nature, the challenge is keeping customers engaged. West ultimately would like to see the diverse potential of the Club at McChord Field remain an option for JBLM personnel.

Those options are not limited to food and alcohol, but can range from private parties to office meetings. She's working with different tenant organizations to determine where the demand lies.

"Definitely try to reach out the squadrons to be more involved," said West. "We're a great venue for organizations to come out and socialize."

The Club at McChord Field is located at 700 Barnes Blvd. Information can be found on their website: https://www.jblmmwr.com/club/index.html.

February 16, 2017 at 4:36pm

Annual hockey game is all about good times

Each time for the past 22 years, the annual WADS Canadian-U.S. hockey game has had a guaranteed outcome.

First, there's the guaranteed fun, the good times for both the 20-some players who signed up to play hockey and the 100-plus fans cheering in the stands. And then there's the guaranteed Canadian win.

The Canadian team, made up of the 15 Canadians detached at Joint-Base Lewis-McChord with the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), are 22-0 in this let's-have-fun series. With their rich background in hockey, the Canadians are again the clear-cut favorites against the U.S. team that is always made up of guys who are just learning how to skate. This year's game is Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at the Spanaway Sprinker Recreation Center. Admission is free.

"Lots of times it's a slaughter," said Kimberly Burke, a public affairs officer at JBLM. "It allows the Canadians to show off their skills. They're very good at hockey."

And in September, the U.S. gets to showoff their skills in softball as the U.S. and Canadians meet in an annual softball game. The U.S. hasn't lost in the three games they've played against the Canadians.

The annual hockey match emphasizes on fun and camaraderie and not so much on the outcome. Last year's hockey game was unique. The U.S. team actually led 2-0.

"We had a really good goalie which we hope to have back this year," Burke said. "And we had some people who could actually skate. But some of them have moved on."

Naturally, the Canadian team rallied and pulled out a 4-3 win. When the U.S. team led, there were a few suggestions thrown out by the crowd.

"They were pretty excited on the bench last year that they were ahead," warrant officer Rick Martin said with a chuckle. "Commander Colonel Kruger said let's call the game now."

While everyone plays to win, the outcome isn't as important as the opportunity to be together outside of work.

"It's a big camaraderie thing," Martin said. "With the Canadians and U.S. working together here, the big thing is it's a good afternoon of camaraderie. That's the biggest takeaway."

In addition to an afternoon of fun, there will also be a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, a charity that helps build homes for the less fortunate.

"One of the big things we've done, we've started in the last three years, is we combined with a charity," Martin said. "An objective of one of our commanders while he is here is community outreach. We've chosen Habitat for Humanity to help."

About $1,000 was raised last year.

While there's no ex-NHL players on the ice for the Canadians, they clearly have the skill advantage. Then come September, the U.S. gets to get their "revenge" in softball.

"We started that game a few years ago because they were a little disgruntled with losing at hockey every year," Martin said with a chuckle. "We don't win that game."

WADS Canada vs. U.S. hockey game, 1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, free, Sprinker Recreation Center, 14824 C St. S., Tacoma, 253.531.6300

February 16, 2017 at 4:34pm

Director of Air National Guard visits WADS

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard, recognizes Capt. Peter Hickman for recently being named a U.S. Air Force Weapons School Top Graduate and First Air Force Command and Control Warrior of the Year. Photo credit: Kimberly D. Burke

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, recognized three members of the Western Air Defense Sector for outstanding performance during a visit to two Washington Air National Guard units Feb. 14.  

Rice recognized Capt. Peter Hickman, 225th Air Defense Squadron, for recently being named a U.S. Air Force Weapons School Top Graduate and First Air Force Command and Control Warrior of the Year.  

He also presented a commander's coin to Master Sgt. Dawn Kloos, 225th Air Defense Group first sergeant, for being named the First Air Force First Sergeant of the Year.  Master Sgt. Daniel Raile, 225th Support Squadron, was also recognized for his contributions to the superior maintenance and operation of the WADS' power plant.

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard, recognizes Master Sgt. Dawn Kloos, 225th Air Defense Group, for recently being named the First Air Force First Sergeant of the Year. Photo credit: Kimberly D. Burke
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Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard, recognizes Master Sgt. Daniel Raile, 225th Support Squadron, for his key contributions to the maintenance and operations of the WADS’ power plant. Photo credit: Kimberly D. Burke

February 16, 2017 at 2:23pm

JBLM's Army leaders get McChord tour

62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Joint Base Lewis McChord Army leadership walks out for a visit to a static C-17 Globemaster III display on the McChord Field flightline Feb. 9.

To get a better understanding of what missions, units and capabilities their Air Force counterparts do on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Army senior leaders attended an Air Force orientation tour Feb. 9 on McChord Field.

“This may be the first time we’ve had a brief like this,” said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. “(The Army is) doing a great job helping enable us to do our mission, but if we don’t explain it, you’re not going to know how to be able to better support us.”

Kosinski addressed the crowd of more than 30 Army officers with a Team McChord mission brief. The brief highlighted the mission partners the wing has on McChord Field, including the 446th Airlift Wing and the Western Air Defense Sector.

“I was very impressed with the variety and diversity of the mission in the 62nd AW and Air Force units at McChord,” said Col. Timothy King, I Corps deputy chief of staff. “I was also impressed with the level of integration of the Air National Guard and Reserve Component Airmen in the daily missions.”

The group also discussed Air Mobility Command’s upcoming premier exercise Mobility Guardian. Lieutenant Colonel Dan DeYoung, JBLM Mobility Guardian director, briefed about the exercise to the group of Army leadership to highlight the joint-partnership opportunities the exercise offers.

“The goal is to have as many joint-users as possible,” DeYoung said.

Army senior leaders from JBLM see Mobility Guardian as a great training tool for Soldiers.

“The Mobility Guardian exercise is a great opportunity for us to further our joint-training opportunities on JBLM,” said Col. Steven Johnson, 1st Special Forces Group deputy commanding officer. “I think it’s something where we can both (Army and Air Force) take advantage of.”

Mobility Guardian, scheduled to run from July 30 to Aug. 12, will simulate a disaster and is expected to challenge participants to hone their skills, executing core capabilities — airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and en route mobility support. King said the nature of the exercise will not only help the Air Force and Army train on moving people and cargo, it will help train in civil affairs matters as well.

“I think the upcoming exercise Mobility Guardian will give I Corps units a great opportunity to integrate in more joint-training,” King said. “Other opportunities for joint-training may include Defense Support to Civil Authorities as in a response to a natural disaster or emergency.”

The group then split in half and toured a static display of a C-17 Globemaster III and a tour at WADS. On the aircraft, Army officials were briefed on aeromedical evacuation, Prime Nuclear Airlift Force, Operation Deep Freeze and Joint Precision Airdrop.

“I think the one area I learned most about was their Prime Nuclear Airlift Force,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t aware they had that mission, but their skill and dedication to the program is impressive.”

The Army officials walked away with information about how the units on McChord Field are integrated and gained more knowledge about potential opportunities to work together in the future.

“The crews are ready, willing and able to support any operation,” said Col. Rich Cleveland, I Corps chief of operations. “The opportunity to train with the 62nd AW will increase unit readiness with continued opportunities associated with deployment readiness and joint interoperability exercises.”

February 10, 2017 at 10:56am

Program seeks to make lives better at McChord

Carl Newhouse, Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior Employee Assistance Program coordinator, stands in the lobby of the Armed Forces Community Service Center at JBLM, Jan. 26. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

The name of the office often times confuses people - the Employee Assistance Program does not offer resumé building or critiquing, nor do they help you find a job, there's a different office for that, but the EAP office does offer a selection of valuable services to Department of Defense civilians.

Carl Newhouse, Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior EAP coordinator, and a team of four EAP coordinators are there to help with different challenges DoD civilians, retirees and dependents who may be struggling in their work place or personal lives.

Newhouse, who is also a certified social worker, has spent the last five years at McChord assisting people.

"There's a few pieces to the EAP," said Newhouse. "We work very closely with the Air Force Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program, behavioral health and other offices."

Newhouse was asked to stand up the program here five years ago, but he said it is not a new program for the Air Force.

"We fall in line with Air Force Instruction 90-508, the Air Force Civilian Drug Demand Reduction Program," Newhouse said. "If a person wants to come see us, they can and it's a confidential service for DoD civilians, spouses of active-duty servicemembers, and retirees and their spouses."

The services they offer are very diverse.

"We offer communication classes, work force development, civility classes, workplace violence classes, diversity classes and short-term counseling, all of which do not go on a medical record."

The team often conducts mass trainings regarding management and work place civility in units across the base.

"Sometimes if there's a multi-generational work force, there may be issues with cohesiveness," Newhouse said. "Maybe they aren't meshing well; management can call us to help and we can provide support and provide information through our classes."

Newhouse and his team can help educate those offices and help provide them with tools to better the environment.

"We are able to support and talk with people and they can see us independently," Newhouse said. "But we don't give diagnoses; I try to emphasize that."

The short-term counseling can be an alternative for a person who doesn't want to go to a therapist or a chaplain.

"Our role is to make sure if you are working, that you're healthy," said Newhouse.

For more information about the Employee Assistance Program, please call 253.732.2214.

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