JBER Public Affairs
3/9/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- They like to move it, move it. You like to move it, move it.
The mission of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Air Passenger
Terminal is to move passengers and cargo across the Pacific; now, thanks
to $2.8 million worth of renovations unveiled during a ribbon-cutting
ceremony Feb. 13, they'll be able to "move it, move it" that much
"The ribbon cutting ceremony was to signify that we're back to full
100-percent capacity," said Tech. Sgt. James Wall, 732d Air Mobility
Squadron passenger terminal noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
The primary reason for the renovations was a cracked support beam running through the roof.
"The bones of this building go back to the 1940s," said Air Force Col.
Seaborn Whatley, 715th Air Mobility Operations Group commander. "The
record snow from the winter of 2011 was too much for them to bear and
caused some significant structural damage to our building. So this
project was a long time in coming."
In addition to structural renovations, a host of other upgrades were included to enhance the travel experience for passengers.
"Once the decision was made to fix the main structural problem, we
decided why not spruce the place up, too," Wall said. "We put in heated
sidewalks, because we have a lot of traffic in and out, and we don't
want people slipping on the ice carrying bags and kids.
"We put in an all-recessed, eco-friendly, cost-effective lighting system
that should save us $40,000 per year. We took out a huge animal display
and divided it up into two smaller areas that will increase traffic
flow in those areas and allow us to process passengers more
efficiently," Whatley said.
Air Force Col. Brian Bruckbauer, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander,
was on hand for the ribbon cutting and was impressed with what he saw.
"What an amazing facility," Bruckbauer said. "Yes, some old bones in
here, but the facelift and the structural improvements are incredible.
There was a famous person by the name of [Army Air Service] Brigadier
General [Billy] Mitchell who once said about this location, 'It's the
most strategic place on earth.' What a fitting place to have this great
Whatley concurred with the JBER commander.
"These upgrades will better enhance the travel experience for our active
duty servicemembers, retirees and families, whether traveling for duty
or taking advantage of their well-earned privilege of space-available
travel," Whatley said.
"It's often said, the passenger terminal is the face of Air Mobility
Command. I'm confident this beautiful facility is putting our best face
forward. It will allow us to provide our mission partners and JBER
community with a matchless travel experience."
Creating a positive travel experience for passengers is something near
and dear to the heart of all the personnel at the passenger terminal,
none more so than Wall.
"We try to make it a fun family experience," Wall said. "Nobody likes
having their personal belongings looked at and inspected. It's a
necessity and has to be done, but we handle it in a manner that doesn't
put people on edge. We try to take that element out of it."
The passenger terminal creed is "safely, by the book, and then on time."
While the men and women of the passenger terminal have that creed as
their baseline, passenger comfort is also foremost in their minds.
"I've noticed some places funnel people into little areas, and everyone
is sitting all over the floor. No one ever comes and tells you, 'hey,
there's an open seat over there,' or 'hey, there's a plug for your phone
over there.' We try to make people as comfortable as possible," Wall
Due to the nature of "space-available" travel, seating and schedules can
be short notice, requiring some travel plan flexibility for those
looking to take advantage of a fair
fare from here to there - Space-A travel is free.
To make the process more efficient and information more accessible, the
passenger terminal has a Facebook page "Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson
Passenger Terminal," where they routinely post the next 72 hours' worth
of flight information.
"Air Mobility Command has a social media initiative," Wall said. "All
passenger terminals have to have one. What's great about that is not
only can we get information out in a more user-friendly format, but
people can like our page and other bases' pages and plan travel routes
based on available missions."
Shuttling people throughout the world as part of Space-A travel is just one facet of the mission of the passenger terminal.
The PAX terminal supports the entire joint mission of JBER, Wall said.
They facilitate 3rd Wing deployments, as well as supporting the 11th Air
Force and all the long-range radar sites. They also work hand-in-hand
with the Army, and have a "great working relationship," he said.
Wall said he finds his line of work rewarding because it allows him to
directly contribute to personally impactful moments in the lives of
others. He told the story of recently being able to help a Soldier get
to see his father before he passed away.
The Soldier asked if there were any flights to Kentucky, and JBER
aircraft almost never fly to Kentucky, Wall said. Through extensive
research, Wall was able to find a rare flight going exactly where the
"We were able to get him on the flight and he was able to see his father
before he passed away," Wall said. "He came back in and thanked me
personally. Helping someone like that with such an important personal
thing in their life makes it all worthwhile."