Why do we continue to have our Independence Day celebration on a day other than July 4th? It is frustrating that we have a holiday and down day but still hold this event on a duty day... As it looks, we will actually be allowed to leave work to attend this year but it seems silly and makes the actual holiday seem sad without fireworks and the usual festivities.
Independence Day is right around the corner and I think it is important to take a second and think about what that day truly represents. This year marks 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which ultimately gave birth to a new sovereign nation that we know as the United States of America, and better yet, the “Land of the Free”. The Declaration stated unequivocally: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The world, as we know it, is full of uncertainty, whether it be from political tensions, conflicts with other nations, climate change or other issues that exist around us, but the one thing that has never changed in my lifetime or generations before me is the freedom we maintain thanks to courageous actions of our forefathers as well as the men and women who have paid for that freedom with tremendous sacrifice.
Everyone on this base is sacrificing daily for the freedom of millions of people back home. We sacrifice by being away from our friends and families, we sacrifice by answering the call to deploy down range, and we sacrifice by working long, tiring hours to ensure our mission gets done. For all of those uncertainties I mentioned before, we as a Wing, as a military and as Americans cannot afford to falter, and we will not fail. Our continued freedom depends on it.
So this year we are going to recognize what Independence Day stands for with our Celebrate America event, which will be held on June 30th at the Samurai Training Fields. I understand that traditionally Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, but by holding this celebration on a Friday, instead of a Tuesday, it allows us the ability to get some people out of the office a little early to meet up with families and friends and check out the festivities and then put on an incredible fireworks display that night. I can’t think of a better way to kick-off a weekend. At the end of the day, I don’t think the actual day we celebrate is as important as the way we celebrate and being able to get as many people involved as possible. And trust me, our FSS professionals along with a bunch of other agencies on base are working hard to make sure that our Airmen and their families have a great time.
I encourage everyone to come out to Celebrate America, but if you cannot make it I encourage you to find the time to celebrate in your own way in remembrance of those who gave us our Declaration of Independence, which remains a beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights, and the guardian of our independence.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all of the men and women of Team Yokota for everything you do to uphold our freedom.
The finish line for the 1.5 mile run is not far after the last turn on the track; this has caused testers to slip (when track is wet) as they are rounding the final turn and expending maximum effort on tired legs to earn a good score. Recommend looking at moving the start/finish further down the track allowing for a more straight-line finish. This problem and recommendation was brought up by several SNCOs in separate forum.
- COA: Samurai FC Staff concurs with the recommendation and is working with CE to create a work order to move the 1.5 mile runand 2km walk start/finish lines. Our FAC team has already engaged CES Engineer Assistants (EA)to re-certify the new sign locations. We will start on the walk signs, once those have been completed/moved, then we can proceed with the run signs. We will ensure UFPMs are briefed of the upcoming change in order to prepare our testers.
- There are several signs depicting "FINISH" on the track in the same area, a few of us as testers came around the final bend and promptly stopped expending energy on crossing the first sign. This can easily be fixed by building a cover for the finish signs that are not applicable to the current testing group. Had one of us stepped off the track our test would have become invalid! This issue was expressed by several of the airmen testing and the augmentees who had previously tested so it is a well-known problem.
- COA: Samurai FC Staff concurs; they initiated a work order with CE to relocate the 2Km Walk Start and Finish signs to the opposite side of track from the 1.5 Mile Start and Finish signs.
One of the most difficult parts about living overseas for many is being away from family and loved ones. This is especially true for our single Airmen who live in the dorms. The question is often brought up about why we have certain visitor hours in the dorms, and how can someone move from the dating phase to engagement and possibly marriage abiding by these restrictions.
The very simple answer to why we have visitor hours is because the Air Force mandates it in AFI 32-6005.
2.20. Social Visits. The Commander establishes local policy regarding social visits. At minimum, guests must be at least 18 years old, be escorted at all times and are prohibited between hours 2400 - 0600 hours. Cohabitation is not authorized.
Every Wingman Day, and other occasions throughout the year, we discuss the 4 pillars that help us become resilient Airmen. One of those is the social pillar which includes building those personal relationships that help us manage the stress we sometimes feel being separated from family. I encourage everyone to get out of the dorms and find people with similar interests. This provides a shoulder to lean on, a wingman to talk to, and someone to share in those wonderful moments and experiences that this mission, this country and this region have to offer.
The bottom line is yes, we have policy that restricts visitors from being in the dorms from midnight to 0600, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from pursuing relationships, making friends, or strengthening that social pillar of resiliency. There are plenty of examples here on Yokota of dorm residents building and strengthening successful relationships with non-dorm residents, while adhering to the visitor hour policy. I would also encourage everyone to look out for that Airman who spends too much time alone or appears isolated. Being this far away from family and friends is tough, but it is also an opportunity that not many people get in a lifetime. So seize the opportunity, find something great to experience, and take a buddy with you!
Col Kenneth Moss,
Commander, 374 Airlift Wing
I recently received a question regarding Allied Telesis and why we have data caps on our internet service on base. We realize that online gaming, communication, video streaming, etc. is an integral part of our daily lives, but the fact is that bandwidth is not an unlimited nor a free resource.
Command leadership is dedicated to providing the best living conditions for our members, so we work closely with AAFES and Allied Telesis, who are responsible for providing commercial internet service to Yokota, to make sure we’re providing the best services we can.
They determined that fair usage values are the best method to control internet usage abuse, and protect the resources available for the majority of Yokota members. If unrestricted, abuse by a small percentage of customers impacts all customers.
Some examples of abuse include:
-Customers sharing service. For example, one dorm resident signs up for service and shares connection with many others.
-Customer has malware or other services acting as servers that take a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. For example, file sharing and torrent services.
-Customers leave streaming HD video running even when they are not in the room watching the service.
It is important for us to be good stewards of all resources, including internet usage. Allied Telesis determined that limiting the amount of data any one customer can use ensures everyone on Team Yokota has access to the same quality of service. This is about being part of a team, and we have to share the finite amount of internet available to use here at Yokota.
I appreciate the question and the opportunity to share this information with everyone who may have had similar concerns.
Col Kenneth Moss
Commander, 374 Airlift Wing
Yokota Chapel services: Thank you for recognizing the importance of having two Catholic Chaplains to serve our community. My husband and I have been here a number of years and we are happy to know that you have finally recognized how beneficial this is to our Catholic community and as well, to the Welfare of the Catholic Priest. Our priest must provide 7 Masses per week - daily Mass Monday through Friday and two Masses on the weekends and this is not to mention the number of Holy services during Advent and Holy week. One wonders how they ever get a day off or time to reflect on their own mental and physical health. It is my understanding that there are 3 Protestant Chaplains and one incoming to provide two services per week. I also understand that Father Fonseca is pcsing and will not be replace. Please explain how this is equitable? Thank you.
Ensuring the free exercise of religion has always been the primary mission of the USAF Chaplain Corps. All of our chaplains and chaplain assistants make this their daily goal, and work long hours to make it happen. As with many agencies, unfortunately, the mission can quickly outrun the resources. It was, indeed, a desire of higher headquarters to assign two Roman Catholic chaplains to bases in PACAF to assist in meeting mission needs. However, good intentions are always subject to the broader needs of the Air Force. This prevented the assignment of an additional priest at this time. Hopefully, we will see more priests come on active duty in the future, which could alleviate the present shortage. The 374th has four active duty chaplains: two Roman Catholic, two Protestants. The Wing Chaplain is one of those Protestants, and is tasked with managing the operational level of the Chapel mission. At Yokota, the Wing Chaplain also covers many tactical duties as well, including unit ministry, counseling, and leading Protestant worship services. In addition, the Wing Chaplain is tasked as the command chaplain for 5th Air Force and United States Forces Japan. We are projecting to gain a Protestant chaplain over the summer. This has been the historical alignment of chaplains here at Yokota in recent years, keeping our strength at four chaplains.
Of course, we could always use more help in the many ministry demands we face. Manpower studies are currently underway, so we remain hopeful that help is just over the horizon. Thank you for your faithfulness to the ministries of the Yokota Chapel. Our volunteers are valued partners in the free exercise of religion for this community, and expand our ministry reach to this growing community!
ANDREW L. THORNLEY, Ch, Maj, USAF
I've gotten several concerns brought up via the Commander's Action Line, town halls, and the Community Action Information Board about school hiring, and
specifically how long it takes. Due to the privileged role teachers play in our children's lives, extensive background checks are required by law.
Unfortunately, these checks can take up to 50 days to complete. However, that time can be extended further due to unreadable fingerprints, incorrect or illegible information in applications, or even requirement to have checks completed in multiple states, which for DoD spouses is usually required. This means that if a person lists Texas, Virginia and Alaska as recent addresses, then fingerprints must be sent to each state and an investigation from each state must be completed.
I know this isn't a very reassuring response for some of our people that are waiting for paperwork to go through, but this process has been directed by
Congress and DODEA must abide by the law. As a valued partner unit, we are in constant contact to address current issues and concerns, and I know they strive to be as helpful as possible with answering questions and keeping people informed on the process. The biggest delays have come from improperly completed forms, so please consult with an expert to ensure applications are filled out completely and correctly. I thank all of you for your desire to work with our kids and make the base a better place.
Col Kenneth Moss
Commander, 374 Airlift Wing
I've gotten a few complaints about the parking situation and enforcement around buildings 314, 315, 316, 702, and 703. Bottom line is that we're doing this for safety and for security at Yokota. Our emergency vehicles need to be able to reach buildings and fire hydrants.
The Traffic Safety Coordination Group assessed all base parking to find the right balance between convenience and safety/security for everyone. There's not a lot of convenient parking. However, parking is within a 5 minute walk of most areas on the base. Please use all available parking including the parking structure (Bldg 816) next to USFJ and LRS. Additionally, we're building a parking lot next to Bldg. 210 that will have 188 more spots set to be complete in March. Finally, I will talk to USFJ and 5th Air Force leaders and ask them to help us by parking in the front of their building and in the parking garage, which will help the parking in front of buildings 702 and 703.
I hear you that parking is not ideal. We're working on it, but in the meantime please continue to follow the guidance we've sent out. Our Defenders work hard keeping you safe, and we need to support them by following the parking rules.
Col Kenneth Moss
Commander, 374 Airlift Wing