Project Welcome Mat
wanes newcomer woes

Senior Airman Kerry Solan-Johnson
Kaiserslautern American

After de-boarding their plane, new arrivals are stared down by stone-faced transient alert troops. Soda-sticky floors grab at their feet.

And these jet-lagged passengers, eager to put head to pillow, can’t find anyone willing to go out of their way to give them directions to lodging.

These sleepy, sticky-feet woes aren’t anything servicemembers arriving through the summer will experience with Project Welcome Mat in place.

Project Welcome Mat, a division of Combat Proud (a program which enhances the appearance of base), establishes a good first impression for new base arrivals, said Col. Bob Otto, 435th Air Base Wing vice commander.

“Making a good first impression is imperative,” said Colonel Otto. “What new arrivals experience from the moment they step off the plane will set the stage for the duration of their assignment.”

The project focuses on improving visitor centers, military personnel flight, customer service, finance, lodging and transient aircraft maintenance activities.

A $30,000 renovation to the waiting area and restroom of customer service, a Welcome Mat facility, was recently completed; customer service is visited by a large percentage of the KMC population visit over the course of a tour, said Capt. Mia Kreimeier, 435th commander’s action group.

However, Project Welcome Mat’s edge comes not only from appearance but customer service.

Customer College, training that enhances relationships between service providers and their customers, is deemed critical for Welcome Mat personnel.

“Customer service can have a lasting impression – especially during the stressful time of a PCS,” said Sharon Harrington, Customer College director.

Though not all units are in direct contact with fresh arrivals, Colonel Otto believes Welcome Mat’s success depends upon everyone.

“Each one of us provides customer service at some level,” said Colonel Otto. “It gives us all the opportunity to make a good and lasting first impression.”