Mobile app connects Airmen to their base

By on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Want to connect with friends and family? There’s an app for that. Need to find the best restaurant around? There’s an app for that. Want to see what movies are playing nearby? There’s an app for that.

Discovering what events your base is hosting on a particular day? Now there is an app for that, too.

It’s called “My Military Communities,” or MyMC2, and is the first mobile application in the Air Force that will put a list of every event at your base in the palm of your hand. The app is a free download and is now available through both the Android Market and Apple’s App Store.

Developed by the 375th Communication Support Squadron web application development team at Scott AFB, the app pulls event listings from organizational Facebook pages that are officially associated with a base and consolidates them into one place.

“It’s a one stop shop for Airmen to be involved in the Scott Community,” said Master Sgt. Delbert Freeborn, 375th CSPTS project manager. So far Scott AFB, along with McConnell AFB, Kan., and Travis AFB, Calif., have begun using the program. The Public Affairs offices at other locations will be responsible for ensuring their base gets included into the app, and several bases are in the process of doing just that.

Freeborn explained how the app opens up to a main page that lists the next five events available at each base. Users then have the option to narrow or expand their search by organizational or event type categories.

For example, if an Airman was interested in finding something to do this weekend with his family, he could choose the “Recreation” category. That would then pull all of the upcoming events that fit description. He may see that outdoor recreation is hosting a family day hike on Saturday. He could then click on that event, which would give him a more detailed description, including time, location and a contact number. He could click a button and have the event automatically added to the calendar on his mobile phone, and he could call the organization or open the organization’s Facebook or web site right from the event posting. He could also touch a map icon which will open up his native GPS app program for directions to the event.

“This app will be especially useful for newcomers to the area,” said Freeborn. “It was developed for Air Force and Department of Defense wide use, so if you move to a new base or travel somewhere for work, you could open this app and view the list of events for that base. It’s ready for everybody.”

In addition to events listings in the app, there are two quick-call buttons on the home page that can be programmed to whatever the installation commander feels are the most important numbers for the Airmen to have. At Scott AFB, the two numbers are for the Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving group and a suicide hotline so people have ready access to helping agencies.

The Scott AFB Community Action Information Board was looking for ways to build resiliency in the Scott Community when it realized that the base was already offering a rich array of services, but the problem was that people in need didn’t know where to turn for help. Col. Michael Hornitschek, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, gathered a small group together for an AFSO21 problem solving event related to Comprehensive Airman Fitness issues and then tasked them to create a centralized place for people to go not only for events, but also for quick access to all the helping agencies on base.

While the base’s public website, www.scott.af.mil does have a calendar and static listings of agencies and programs available to the Team Scott community, this new app brings that information to each Airman and Scott community member 24/7 in their pocket.

“I’m so impressed with what the 375th CSPTS software engineering team “Wizards” proposed and developed so quickly,” said Hornitschek. “When people see what this can do, they’re very excited about the possibilities, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I couldn’t be more proud of this amazing team of junior Airmen and for all the organizational Facebook administrators for coming on board to ensure content is updated and formatted properly, as that will be the core to its continued success.”

Capt. James Crawford, software engineering flight chief, explained that despite not having had prior experience with developing apps for Android and Apple platforms, using free on-line tutorials his team quickly taught themselves Java scripting and in just four weeks had the demo ready for the commander’s approval.

Freeborn added that “these are two totally different languages and two totally different technologies, which presented their own unique problems. This has been a huge learning curve for all of us. We had to think totally different for this mobile app … take into account data usage, memory leaks, personal information and battery life. Android apps all have a certain look and Apple apps all have a certain look. We had to make them compatible in a visual sense as well.”

Along with Crawford and Freeborn, team members included in the development of this app are: 2nd Lt. Andrew Villagran, Tech Sgt. David Carlson, Staff Sgt. Daniel Rich, Senior Airman Amanda Voisin, Airman 1st Class Christopher Davies and Airman 1st Class Jacob Beeman.

To download the app you may open your smartphones app store and search “My Military Communites” Or “MyMC2″

You may also download the app from your iPhone here and your Android device here.

If you are with public affairs and would like to request the application for your base please contact Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane at DSN 576-2600

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