New crew lounge ready for Maxwell air show

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala --

A new crew lounge officially opened at base operations for Maxwell Air Force Base on Feb. 24, 2017.

The new space is the largest known self-help project at Maxwell, completed by the 42nd Operations Support Squadron just in time for use during the two-day air show and open house, April 8-9, 2017.

“The basement was unused, flooded and not habitable when we started,” said Lt. Col. John Zohn, 42nd OSS commander. “Estimates for the flooring alone was over $10,000, my guys not only took care of the floors, walls and heritage room, but made it their own. This provided us a great space to host crew members, but also gave us a morale boosting project that we have come together to complete. I am so proud of the initiative they have, and continue to show, through the development of this space.”

Breaking the 7-year abandoned streak of the basement, this new crew lounge is a huge expansion in capacity and supports efforts to expand air operations in the Yellowhammer State by giving better care to our transient air crew. By doing this via self-help, Zohn estimates they saved the government upwards of $30,000 in the process, and sped up the timeline by 3-months.

Mold and flooding issues were only the beginning of the hurdles Zohn’s team had to overcome during their 7-month renovation.

“When we decided to turn it into a crew lounge and heritage hall, we were told funding would take 2-years to come in, “said Staff Sgt. Jamie Nabors, a 42nd OSS air traffic controller who helped renovate the lounge. “Everything that has been done to take the space from a falling apart, mold infested flood zone has been a self-help project that we took upon ourselves to do. It has been a total team effort, where someone has had an idea and ran with it, and after a few months we really got some momentum to start piecing it together.

Paint, ceiling tiles, baseboards, concrete for the floor, pool table, couches and televisions were all accumulated around base from unused storage items. Any items they couldn’t find, that they needed, was purchased in-house. They spent approximately $1,000 of their own money on the project.  

The previous crew lounge held a whopping total of 5-people, and didn’t house anything other than a couch and television. Now transient crews have an entire floor with two TVs, a pool table, snack bar, Ping-Pong table, computer and space for dozens of flyers.  Additionally, the team constructed a squadron heritage room for the OSS on the same floor with 42nd OSS insignias and original murals.

“We are really proud of the work we accomplished, and continue to do,” said Nabors. “We will continue to make improvements as new ideas come up, but really we just want people to use this space. Yes, it is a crew lounge, but anyone on base is welcome to use it. We already have squadrons asking to use the space for events and we love that!”

For more information on Maxwell’s upcoming air show, visit the event website at http://www.maxwell.af.mil/AirShow.aspx.