RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
As Gunfighters learn how to do more with less, multitasking and proper usage of their time is vital.
Unfortunately, an Airmen's dedication to completing the mission may cause them not to take proper care of their personnel records and other vital career actions. They may just not have the time to leave work and visit their local military personnel flight. They also may be deployed or stationed in an area with no MPF available.
The answer to this problem is located at the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base. The 24-hour Air Force Contact Center here employs a tier system to help Airmen fix their personnel problems from a computer or a telephone any time of the day.
The first step in the tier is to visit the AFPC "Ask" Web site at http://ask.afpc.randolph.af.mil
. The Web site contains a wealth of personnel information and services that would have been available only at a MPF in the past.
But if a visit to the Web site doesn't answer a person's question, they can call 800-616-3775, where a customer service representative, like Ken Nelson, will answer their call.
Mr. Nelson and others in the call center have extensive military personnel experience. He served for nine years as an Air Force personnelist.
There are other advantages to the center besides the fact that it is open 24 hours, Mr. Nelson said. There are fewer restrictions on information than he did in his time working at MPFs in the past.
"We have access to everything. It is almost like we are a super personnelist," he said. "We have worldwide access to numerous different agencies, so wherever you are in the fight we can help you."
Mr. Nelson will not have the answers for some of the more unique or difficult personnel problems though. If he encounters something that he can't answer, he will send the caller to the next tier that is composed of people who specialize in certain personnel areas.
If the question is about duty history or duty status, Airmen may speak to Tech. Sgt. Andrea Hall, the assistant NCO in charge of the section.
Sergeant Hall said she spends a lot of her day researching answers to questions and coordinating with other agencies, in addition to being on the phone with customers.
She said great communication is what makes the call center a success.
"I couldn't ask for a better team," she said. "People are always up to speed and extremely motivated to help our customers."
It is important that people don't let personnel problems linger, because in the end they can be detrimental to the Air Force mission, Mr. Nelson said.
"The mission of the Air Force requires everyone's personal needs be taken care to ensure they are properly equipped to do their job," he said. "With this process you can call in 24-hours-a-day across the world, which just wasn't possible for a MPF."