Thursday, 2 July 2009

The KMCC

So I’ve waited almost five years now for the KMCC to wrap up and finish. For those not familiar....the KMCC is this grand Taj Mahal that the AF built on Ramstein, for about $170-odd million. It's a hotel, mall, etc. It went on the fast pace for construction...meaning that they screwed up big-time, and corruption got to be a problem. So it's 3 years past schedule to be completed.

Today, phase one completed and opened its doors….the hotel and west-end. Phase two, the BX portion, is 100 days away.

My honest opinion? Crap! I walked in and was amazed at the tremendous waste of open space….to be heated or cooled (it's all 24-ft ceilings). I could jam three thousand people into the open hallways of phase one.

The prices? $12.99 for a grilled ham and cheese with fries? A coke at the sports bar for $3.99? A tall big boozey drink…..$5.99? Who will pay this price?

I didn’t go into the Grill resturant….I’ll wait a week or two for that. The German bakery? Probably the only plus. But I’ll admit that $7.00 for a cup of coffee and two German pastries is a bit too much. I kinda laughed because the guy running the bakery is some Chinese guy (not German or American).

Parking? Well….you will have to park a good 250 feet away from the entrance, and walk a good five minutes inside to get to the bakery.

My long term thinking….the place will probably rent rooms but I have serious doubts about folks stopping in and paying $16 for a sandwich and drink. I’m guessing that a number of folks….retirees and Army included….will be making weekend reservations and staying at Ramstein to have the “experience”. Maybe that’s the best long-term trick out of this deal. Maybe the occupancy rate for the 300 rooms is a constant 80 percent….and works well with the BX.

The Real Question

In today’s Stars and Stripes, there was an interesting article of how the military intends to crimp and dump smokers from the military over the next twenty years. They are apparently going to have meetings and discuss the actions they can take....to make this happen.

I kinda laughed over this. These are people who don’t smoke and have worked themselves into a fit and sweat over smokers. They eagerly cite reports and trends....always discussing the effects of cancer. They believe that a process can be developed to make this miracle of sorts occur.

Somewhere along the way, they will eventually determine that allowing the “wrong” people to enter the military (the smokers)....is one of the problems....so they will make a simple rule that you can’t be a smoker and enlist. Then they will cut sales at the commissary and BX over a pack of smokes. The number of folks interested in joining? It’ll gradually decrease.

Years ago, I worked for a crusty old Master Sergeant. We got into a discussion one day over the necessary requirements of people who were to join the Air Force, or the military in general. As he put it....there is only one real requirement in determining who will join the Air Force.....are you willing to kill someone if necessary....and are you willing to kill a bunch of folks if directed?

Sarge was right. Once you start filtering things, and making funny rules about “we don’t want smokers”, “we don’t want drinkers”, etc. Then you start to run into problems.

So in twenty years....it’ll be a handful of guys who join.....and the last possible question that you might ask is “ would mind killing someone?”, and we really don’t care how you answer....as long as you were not a smoker.