You've got Base Pride detail
By Senior Airman Lindsey A. Porter, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 13, 2012
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Under a mid-day August sun, humidity and heat beat down on sticky soda bottles, greasy fast food containers and a seemingly endless number of discarded cigarette butts. Together, these items lie fermenting in the ditch near the Andrews Main Exchange.
Armed with a black garbage bag and plastic gloves, Tech. Sgt. Jody Lucas, Base Pride NCO in charge, climbs out of his Base Pride GOV to collect the scattered waste. Along with six other Airmen, Lucas makes up Andrews' Base Pride detail. Together, their sole responsibility is to clean up any mess they come across while driving through designated patrol routes throughout Joint Base Andrews.
"The ditch by the exchange is pretty bad," said Lucas. "Our team has to drive past a few times a day because so many people shop, eat and then immediately throw their trash on the ground there. The area by the dining facility is also pretty rough."
According to Lucas, these areas along with roads near Andrews' on-base housing developments, surrounding office buildings and the base lake, make up the routes that Base Pride teams travel during their week of detail. A new team of Airmen is organized every week and split into two groups who spend their days driving their respective routes looking for problem debris-collecting spots. By the end of the week, the two Base Pride teams total more than 150 miles worth of travel. It's also because of initiatives like Base Pride that more than 100 pounds of scattered trash, tree limbs and other assorted waste is collected from Andrews' roadways and ditches every month.
"The strangest thing I found during my week of detail was an Enlisted Performance Report," said Senior Airman Cornelie Hall, 779th Medical Support Squadron command support staff. "I guess they didn't like their rating very much."
Additionally, with more than 15,000 people living or visiting Andrews daily, the sight of trash on base can leave a lasting, and unfortunately, a less-than-desirable impression of the base on all who notice it. Andrews' high visibility, and the amount of national and Air Force senior-level leaders who regularly visit here, only add to making the sight of waste here be a sore one.
"Seeing scattered trash on base only hurts Andrews," said Col. William Knight, Joint Base Andrews/11th Wing commander. "Prestige garnered by the hard work of Andrews Airmen to run the presidential-level missions that go on here is thrown out the window when Andrews is associated with garbage."
In addition to keeping the base clean, Base Pride also helps maintain the safety and security of the base and everyone here.
"The EPR our team found had a Social Security Number on it," said Lucas. "During patrols, we've also found a diabetic's needle and an Airman Leadership School graduation certificate. The job Base Pride does out here is important because someone could have gotten their identity stolen or have been seriously injured if we had not found these items."
Having pride in this installation, however, isn't solely the job of Base Pride detail Airmen. All people who live and work on Andrews are encouraged to do their part in protecting the installation's integrity and to take daily steps to keep their base clean.
"Airmen on Andrews can really help by simply discarding their trash in a proper receptacle, closing dumpster lids after use and picking up trash if they see it instead of walking by," said Master Sgt. James Keeny, Base Pride Senior NCO in charge. "Facility managers could help out tremendously just by policing their assigned areas of responsibility and ensuring their personnel are doing the same."
The high-visibility of this base, along with numerous sanitation and safety reasons should remind all of Team Andrews to police their work areas and continue to keep Andrews clean, looking its best and maintaining its high standard of excellence.
"Scattered trash on Andrews presents an impression that the base is unsafe and unhealthy," said Chief Master Sgt. William Sanders, Joint Base Andrews/11th Wing command chief. "This impression also in no way aligns with the high standards of the service members who live and work here. Even though only a few Airmen are tasked with Base Pride detail each week, all are encouraged to run their own personal pride details in order to keep Andrews clean and maintain the honorable perception of this premier Air Force-led installation."