Wasting time on others’ dime

In the military, it’s very common to hear “on time is late” or “always show up 15 minutes early.”

Working for the U.S. Air Force involves a lot of moving parts. When any of those parts stop working, things get backed up quickly. Service members experience these moments when others decide to show up for appointments and training “fashionably late” or worse, not at all.

Three units which get hit the hardest from missed and late appointments are medical, combat arms training and maintenance, and the emergency management flight.

Instructors of the 569th Combat Arms Training and Maintenance annually train more than 7,000 service members to ensure they are able to employ their weapons in garrison and at deployed locations, according to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luis Fontanez, 569th CATM NCO in charge.

Missed appointments don’t just hurt their students, but instructors take a hit as well according to Fontanez. Instructors have to work their schedules and personal appointments around class time and if a student has to reschedule, that could mean their instructors have to reschedule their appointments too.

Time wasted can easily stack up man-hours for many units.

Monthly missed appointments average an additional 45 work hours for the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Flight.

Emergency management teaches courses such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training.

Their training is vital for mission readiness for service members at their home base and deployed locations.

“We’re hitting the peak deployment band,” said U.S. Air Force  Tech. Sgt. Kendra Violanti, 786th CES Emergency Management Flight installation emergency management section chief. “Members are needing these classes before heading out, but are missing them because someone who was late for one class rescheduled for another class, filling two spots.”

The 86th Medical Group knows how much missed appointments cost them, and it’s stacking up.

“The valued cost for each missed appointment is approximately 202 dollars,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Melvin Tsui, 86th MDG practice manager. “With 335 no-shows per month, the monthly total is equal to 67,670 dollars.”

Service members can mitigate these costs by utilizing time management skills like maintaining a calendar, setting an alarm and arriving early. If all else fails, individuals should alert units ahead of time to inform them of their tardiness or missed appointment.