Priority four: provide exceptional quality of life for KMC

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Monson
  • 86th Mission Support Group commander
Editor's note: This is article No. 4 of 5 in a series highlighting the priorities of the 86th Airlift Wing.

We've all heard the phrase, "If Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy." Put another way, trouble on the homefront or family struggles often directly impact the ability of the Airman
or Soldier to focus on their job. If you remember back to your high school psychology class, Abraham Maslow developed his "hierarchy of needs" theory, which held that unless basic physiological, safety and belonging needs are met first, it is difficult for people to achieve full self-actualization. That is, in the absence of food, shelter, safety and social/familial connections, people may never achieve their full potential of being creative, confident and moral members of society (or productive Airmen and Soldiers for that matter).

So, what does all that mean for me, my family or my unit, you ask? It means that in order to operate at a high level of technical skill, energy and professionalism, leaders must seek to create homes, work and play environments for their troops that satisfy their basic human needs with robust support programs. And this is why the 86th Airlift Wing has made providing exceptional quality of life for the entire KMC one of its top five priorities.

Our nation's most precious resources, the men and women who have volunteered to serve their country and defend its Constitution in a time of war, deserve nothing less than exceptional, world-class quality of life and community support. They have answered our nation'scall, and we owe it to them and their families to ensure the KMC is a great place to live.

The good news is that the KMC is already a pretty good place to live, but we know we can always be better. While there are many aspects that constitute "quality of life," the 86th AW leadership team will focus primarily on two areas: first, ensuring an effective off-base housing process, and second, providing robust community support for families and single Airmen and Soldiers.

With the goal of increasing customer satisfaction with the off-base housing process, the 86th Civil Engineer Group is leading working groups aimed at reducing housing office wait times, educating inbound families on the constrained off-base housing situation, partnering with the off-base landlords and building a seamless operation between the housing referral process and the furnishings management operation.

To ensure robust community support programs, the 86th Mission Support Group is leading working groups to improve access to child care and youth programs both on and off base. The groups are working closely with their Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation partners to reduce or eliminate waiting lists at the outstanding child development centers. Additionally, group members are working to highlight efforts via marketing to improve the awareness of the many family and singles support programs already offered by a multitude of agencies within the KMC.

In closing, I believe we truly are fortunate to live, work and play in the KMC. Many of our on- and off-base support programs that fulfill our basic needs -- including our Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Army and Air Force Exchange Service/Defense Commissary Agency, outdoor recreation, child care, sports and fitness, and housing and education opportunities-- are already truly world class. With our focused improvement efforts through the 86th AW's strategic plan, we'll continue to ensure the KMC is not just the biggest concentration of Americans living outside the continental U.S., but that it is also the most envied group of Americans due to our exceptional quality of life. The end result is a community of professionals and closely bound families who are operationally ready to provide combat airlift anytime, anywhere and operate the Air Force's premier installation to enable and assure strategic capabilities in support of our national defense and of our allied partners' national defense.