Dorm management takes care of Airmen by mentoring, maintaining, innovating
By Airman First Class Andrew Kobialka, 366th FW/PA
/ Published April 29, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Mentoring first-term Airmen, maintaining and improving dorm assets and looking for innovative ways to enhance the quality of life for Airmen in the dorms is a daily grind.
An important role of unaccompanied housing (UH) management is running the Bay Orderly (BAYO) program. All first-term Airmen are placed in the program where they clean and upkeep the dormitories they live in for a couple weeks. But it is so much more.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Johnson, 366th Fighter Wing Airman dorm leader, explained that this is an Airmen’s first experience in the operational Air Force. The ADLs use BAYO as an opportunity to help transition first-term Airmen through daily mentoring sessions held after lunch.
“We try to correct any potential issues here before they go out into their squadrons and hurt their careers,” said Staff Sgt. Alysha Henzler, 366th FW Airmen dorm leader.
ADLs make it point to observe and create the time to have conversations about life in the military. Their goal is to act as buffer to ensure each of their Airmen have the tools to succeed.
Having these conversations inherently build relationships among Airmen in BAYO.
“BAYO opens up a channel to make friends from various squadrons and gives Airmen a sense of belonging,” said Robert Wohosky, 366th Fighter Wing UH superintendent.
Beyond BAYO, UH management ensures inbound Airmen have a place to stay, the necessities and amenities of living in the dorms are upgraded and deployed Airmen’s housing is being maintained.
“We place work orders for repairs that need to happen and walk the dorms on a daily basis, making sure that everyone has a safe, secure and clean house to come home to,” Johnson said.
Wohosky mentioned that they recently put retro gaming systems in the dorms, replaced boilers and HVAC systems, and put in new picnic tables in the surrounding area. These are just a few examples of how UH management improves upon what Airmen need and want.
“We really do go to bat for the living conditions for the residents here on base,” Johnson said. “We attend meetings with the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron to see how we can best improve the campus.”
Even with these large scale improvements, sometimes life presents problems that need a personalized answer.
“Airmen come to us with unique issues everyday, which enhances our readiness through adapting to find solutions and shows that we care about taking care of Airmen and the lifestyle they live,” Johnson said.
Henzler and Johnson have started looking for innovative ways to better serve the needs of Airmen in the dorms. They have been working on creating an app that would greatly increase the ease of access to information for Airmen in the dorms.
“There will be a suggestions box, a place to submit work orders regardless of business hours, useful contact information and all paperwork they may need for dorm life,” Henzler said.
“The app will also act as community outreach,” Johnson said. “It will detail things like free show listings at the base theater, the Force Support Squadron event calendar and other events that Airmen don’t even know exist. And it will all be at their fingertips.”
Most Airmen may not read every poster, but they do have their phone in their hands all day long. This app is how UH management is adapting to modern communication trends.
They are confident that the app will boost morale, give them more accurate feedback, and make the overall dorm experience for Airmen more convenient and pleasant.
Wohosky said, “The crew we have right now is the best crew I’ve had under my supervision and the steps they’ve taken to improve the quality and conditions of the dorms is by far the best I’ve seen.”
UH management never knows what each day will hold, but whether it is mentoring, repairs, or app development, they know that they will fight day-in and day-out for their Airmen.
“At the end of the day, the Airman are our number one priority and they are going to stay our number one priority,” Henzler said.