Yokota Air Base introduces Rapid Airfield Damage Repair

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Yokota Air Base introduces Rapid Airfield Damage Repair

Greetings, Samurai warriors!  The purpose this blog is to introduce the Wing to the newest Civil Engineer capability, Rapid Airfield Damage Repair (RADR).

            You may have noticed a great deal of heavy equipment parked around the base and the fact that the BXtra has closed.  This equipment is to enable our engineers to recover the runway in the event an adversary tries to deny its use by cratering.  We have partnered with AAFES and consolidated facilities in order to improve your customer experience (e.g. you will be able to buy a birthday card AND a toy under the same roof) and take care of the new equipment by converting the BXtra to a warehouse. Currently in the BXtra parking lot you can see several of the 181 vehicles, including the mobile volumetric mixer concrete plants that will be kept inside the newly converted storage space once CE is done remodeling.     

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RADR is a response to the increased threat Yokota now faces from adversaries in the region.  RADR is significantly different from our legacy Rapid Runway Repair (RRR) concept of operations in that, with RRR, we anticipated three large craters that would be temporarily filled with gravel, requiring constant maintenance.  For the new RADR concept we expect hundreds of craters ranging in size from a few feet to surface spalls. With RADR, the repairs will be semi-permanent by using rapid-set concrete.

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As you can imagine the amount of equipment to fix hundreds of craters is vast.  Around our contingency towers in the east housing area you can see 45 CONEX shipping containers full of rapid-set concrete mix. 

 

We have also converted the third floor of the south parking garage on main base to store many of the 274 attachments for the Bobcat, Case and Volvo excavators and skid steer loaders. 

 

Of course fielding a new capability is not without its challenges.  The 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron has gained vehicle authorizations increasing their total War Reserve Materiel (WRM) authorizations to 413 without any additional manning.  We have recognized this challenge and are advocating for 10 to 12 full time personnel for maintenance. 

The RADR kit’s rapid setting concrete has a 5-year shelf life.  Therefore another exciting aspect of this new capability is that, starting in 2018, CES will be able to utilize and replenish 20% of the concrete annually.  This will allow us to do work on the base and airfield to make Yokota even more ready to fight tonight.

 

Combat Engineers…Combat Ready!

 

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE VULNERABLE!

Brene Brown, PhD, a research professor at University of Houston, wrote, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”  This is foreign thinking to us as members in the Air Force regardless of what level you find yourself.  We are “Sentries and Avengers, our Nation’s Sword and Shield” right?  That doesn’t really go together with being vulnerable, but I agree with Dr. Brown in that it enables innovation, creativity, change and promotes trust. Former 374th Wing Commander, Col (Ret.) Douglas Delamater, constantly said, “We move at the speed of trust.”

So you’ll have to humor a 24-year Chief as I get vulnerable in my first ever BLOG.  If my mother could see me now. Given its Mother’s Day, I wonder if this can count as a gift. LoL So, I finally get my dream assignment to Malmstrom AFB, Montana.  For me, being an outdoors guy, loving to hunt, fish, camp, etc. it really was a dream come true.  I had the opportunity to put 1000 miles on my four wheelers with my 2 daughters and wife.  I did endless camping trips with family and friends and killed my first elk.  I was able to be part of a Missile Wing for the first time, life was great.  11-months later, I got non-volunteered to Yokota AB.  Being all in and wanting to just continue to take care of Airmen, we came to Japan with open minds and a sense of anticipation for future opportunities. 

Flying in on the rotator it hit me, I wasn’t in Kanas anymore or Montana.  I’ve heard it called a “Concrete Jungle”, with over 35 Million people.  I’ve been in major cities all over the world but this was dense and the biggest I’ve seen in my life.  Initially, I believe my family and I had culture shock and were home sick for the mountains and the great outdoors.  That soon turned into depression even for an optimistic, fired up Chief.  So how did I cope with it or I should say how DO I cope with this still today?

Shockingly, GET SOME comes to mind.  First I got a Group of friends and got involved.  Both in the community (base and local) and in my church.   My faith in God has proven to be a steadfast source of strength. I’ve never been in a tighter Chiefs’ Group either; these truly are my brothers and sisters.  Getting to know our friendship club has been rewarding as well.  Our friendship club took us walking on fire, throwing beans, and other Japanese cultural events.  This all took Effort though.  I put in the effort to change my situation and attitude which affected my altitude.  Effort in being vulnerable with those I didn’t know or yet trust.  I had to give this place Time and be patient.  One weekend and one event doesn’t make up the year.  I had to give the new people I met time as well.  It was also important for me to take care of mySelf.  You can’t have “Service before Self” without SELF.  You have to take care of yourself; if you run out of resources or the ability, get help, at least let someone know.  It might be something different for all of us.  I was Open with my friends (new and old), my wife, with those I worked with, and my fellow Chiefs.  I shared with them my struggles and I was surprised to find out a lot of them had the same struggles.  They shared how they got through them or were there to support me through mine.  I tried to stay on the Move and check out Japan, whether through trips or events.  We have gone on trips to Tokyo, go-karted Tokyo twice, taken the bullet train to Hiroshima, climbed Mt. Fuji, and traveled to a few other countries like Vietnam and Thailand.  Most of our families are living vicariously through us while in Japan as most won’t ever make it here.  We need to try to experience and see everything we possibly can while here, if not only for us only, then for our families wherever they may live.

Lastly, show Emotion and show passion.  If it’s okay for Brig. Gen. Michael Minihan, Deputy Director of Operations, HQ PACAF, in his speech at the Wing’s recent Dining Out, to state at the beginning of his speech that he may cry, then it is ok for all of us to show emotion.  I believe emotion and passion goes hand-in-hand with being vulnerable.  CMSgt Eric Evers, AMXS Squadron Superintendent, in his speech as the ALS mentor started his speech off with, “I’m very nervous if you couldn’t tell.”  It totally changed his outlook on the rest of the speech and set him and the audience at ease.  When we show emotion and passion we are being vulnerable with people, which inspires them to more easily trust and be committed to you.

So I leave you with this as a challenge, be vulnerable when leading and when you face adversity.  Remember too, you’re not the first nor the last to be faced with the obstacle or challenge you are facing.  GO GET SOME! Get a GROUP of friends and co-workers, put out the EFFORT to be vulnerable and work at friendships and make your situation better.  Give it TIME to get better.  Take care of yourSELF.  Be OPEN with friends and co-workers.  Stay on the MOVE and stay occupied and busy.  Lastly, show some EMOTION; be passionate, vulnerable, and care.

DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!  Your friends, families, and leadership don’t know what they don’t know; you need to be vulnerable and tell them.  You’re not the only one going through what you’re going through nor will you be the first or the last.  Thanks for reading this BLOG and let me know if I can help in any way.

-       CMSgt Tim Davidson, Superintendent, 374th Medical Group
        "GET SOME!"

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Base Ready to Fight

As we examine the regional threats across the Pacific Region, the 374th Airlift Wing looks inward on our capability to defend our nation and support our partners. Part of our wartime capability is dependent on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) readiness; effectiveness in this area will help us to sustain the mission through a chemical attack, and to recover the base afterwards. The Maintenance Group continuously evaluates our ability to provide airlift capabilities through a myriad of threats. 

Training will continue to play an increasingly critical role in our Readiness as regional threats evolve in the Pacific AOR. The Wing just recently underwent a Wartime Readiness Inspection, in which each organization tested their ability to execute ATSO/CBRN procedures. This was the first time the Wing had undergone a CBRN-related exercise in some period, and as expected, we found several areas that could use improvement. The inspection was the perfect opportunity to focus as a squadron on correcting these deficiencies together. It was also an opportunity for the newer Airmen to experience a simulated chemical environment within their work centers.  It is important for Airmen across Yokota to be familiar with performing operations in a contested environment so that they can sustain our airlift mission. 

This training event provided invaluable experience to all of our Airmen. Our Maintenance Group Commander, Col Robertson stated “Training is the life blood of maintenance and is truly one of the cornerstones of what makes our Air Force the Greatest in the World”. Even though Colonel Robertson’s words were in reference to Developing World Class Airmen, this concept of focusing on training our Airmen properly also fits perfectly into the idea of Readiness and being prepared to defend the base.

But, a base ready to fight, is more than developing CBRN skills.  It also means ensuring Airmen are proficient in their job, so they can carry out tasks under the most stressful situations imaginable.  Leaders must verify that all necessary tools and equipment are available and their Airmen are proficient and comfortable using them.  

Based on the events currently happening in the Pacific, we must continue to sharpen our combat skills in order to be continue to provide the deterrence that has kept this region at peace.  That being said, Yokota’s mission is far more diverse than just moving to the sound of gunfire; it is also important to remember, “Ready to fight” could be moving humanitarian aid to those in the Pacific AOR affected by the next earthquake, typhoon, or natural disaster.  We continue to strive for excellence by smartly and aggressively improving our processes so that we can be a BASE READY TO FIGHT!

-2nd Lt. Marcelli Magday, 374th Maintenance Squadron flight commander

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Trust, the Key to Change

I recently had the opportunity to observe a panel of three NCOs address Airmen at a Yokota Air Base First Four meeting.  It was great to see the passion of these leaders as they answered questions, provided insight on being a front line supervisor, and explained what to expect as Airmen progress through the ranks.  However, one discussion struck me like a ton of bricks: the hours an NCO works performing their daily duties, supporting the mission, and more importantly, taking care of Airmen.  I listened to them describe a normal duty day for an NCO, which for them was showing up early, eating lunch at their desk and then staying late to perform mission related duties, administrative tasks, and training requirements, all while supporting private organization and wing functions…and a multitude of other tasks.  This seems to be a common theme I hear from Airmen of all ranks; but why?  Do we not trust leadership when they say stop doing outdated and non-value added duties?  Is this self-induced because we feel we must complete every task to absolute perfection?  From the discussions I have had with Airmen, I would say it is both. 

In a speech at Ellsworth Air Force Base in November 2013, former Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh told a hangar full of Airmen "if it doesn't match common sense then I don't care what it says in the AFI, let's talk about it."  This is a common message we have all heard from top Air Force leaders over the last several years.  We have also seen official Air Force policy changes that reduced ancillary training requirements and additional duties.  This was a noble effort and highlighted that our leaders are engaged and concerned about the impact of manning throughout the Air Force.  

The current Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein highlighted some of his concerns when he rolled out his first focus area, “The Beating Heart of the Air Force…Squadrons!“  In this letter he stated “our squadron commanders, civilian leaders, superintendents, first sergeants, and Airmen feel first-hand the challenges associated with increased mandatory recurring training, a growing list of additional duties, and the challenge of a "do-it-your-self' world in place of Airmen who previously provided services for them.”  This letter was pushed out to Airmen in August 2016, almost three years after General Welsh addressed many of the same concerns to the Airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base.  I imagine that the perception to most Airmen is that these are just words because we truly haven’t seen any major changes.  Why?  It comes down to trust.  

Back in 2013, General Welsh was aware that Airmen did not have trust in their leaders when he stated, “they don't think their supervisors or next level supervisors want them to make waves or (that) their commanders will listen to them."  At the Tanker Airlift Control Center (TACC), I saw firsthand what it’s like to have a commander make innovation and lean initiatives a priority, providing the trust needed to drive change.  It was under the command of Major General David Allvin that I was fortunate to be a team lead for a project to review the requirements for eight additional duties.  When all was said and done, we completely cut two programs and eliminated additional duty requirements for 47 people.  This was just one of many success stories, not just due to the hard work of the team but also to a commander who was a driving force for the culture change needed to ensure the continued success of TACC.

While I believe leaders at all levels play a vital role in driving change, it is the Airmen closest to the mission that drive the innovation.  As Thomas Jefferson put it in 1787, “question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”  Like Jefferson, my hope is that we can regain this trust by empowering all Airmen to use this critical eye while performing their day-to-day duties and boldly evaluating what is necessary to perform the mission and take care of Airmen.  We can either be restrained by a culture of compliance or go back to our roots to be an innovative Air Force, eliminating the inefficient and outdated processes and programs that burden our Airmen today.  I was emboldened by Major General Allvin’s vision for a better organization and YOU have been empowered by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to do the same.  It is YOU, the Junior Airmen, NCOs, and CGOs that are the Subject Matter Experts and next generation of leaders that will drive the changes needed to ensure we remain the world’s greatest Air Force.  

-Chief Master Sgt. Michael Molzhon, 374th Operations Group Superintendent 

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Mobility for America and our Partners through the Pacific; Safely, By the Book…Then On Time

Greetings Yokota!  Thanks for taking the time to read this article and hear from one of the mission partners on base.  The 515th Air Mobility Operations Group has a proud tradition of working side by side with the 374th Airlift Wing to execute extremely challenging missions across the theater.  Our operational landscape in the Western Pacific is comprised of capable adversaries, complex command relationships and fluid, yet critical alliances. The success of our mobility enterprise, and the units we support from Misawa in the north to Thailand in the south, Yokota in the east to Diego Garcia in the west, rests squarely on strength of our partnerships.  The work you accomplish on a daily basis directly impacts our combined ability to prepare for the next contingency while executing today’s mission safely, by the book…then on time!  Our Group’s priorities are similar to your Wing Lines of Effort which Col Moss described in his first article and is the main topic of this blog.

    During a senior leader working group last fall, the assembled Commanders and Chiefs recognized our organization must Execute the Mission, Ensure Readiness, Develop Airmen, and Care for Airmen & Families in order to remain an engaged and trusted ally to the units we support.  We developed several focus areas which will enable us to fulfill those responsibilities.  The 515 AMOG focus areas are:

  • Embolden the Squadron – In order to secure squadron success, we will strive to guarantee Successful Day to Day Ops and Develop Empowered, Innovative Airmen.  We must leverage the intellect of our Airmen to improve how we operate today and our plans for the future.  We will mold our Airmen through engaged leadership while emphasizing a compliance-based culture.
  • Operation Plan & Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Readiness – We will maximize our preparedness by Improving our Strategic Capabilities and Partnerships as well as cultivate Proficiency in our Core Competencies for an Aerial Port, Maintenance and C2 organization.  Our geographic locations provide strategic staging grounds to further our nation’s missions.  Trained Airmen with optimally maintained equipment will ensure the strategic functionality of Bases, and Operating Locations throughout the Western Pacific.
  • Care for our Airmen & Families -- We will continue to support and implement quality of life programs essential to our lifestyle while Promoting a Safety Culture On and Off Duty as well as Connecting, Communicating and Collaborating with each other as individuals. We must learn and recognize our performance limits, employ sound judgement, utilize effective Operational Risk Management and emphasize Calculated Risk-Taking in our professional and personal lives.  Military life is challenging, and living overseas presents unique obstacles for our personnel to navigate.  Establishing a relationship of trust, respect, support, active two-way communication, as well as team problem solving, will optimize our Wingman culture.
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As you can tell, the focus of the 515 AMOG and 374 AW are very similar which makes us a great team but we are also Proud To Be…AMC!  

-Colonel Kevin Wade, 515th Air Mobility Operations Group Commander

 

 

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The One-Stop Shop

In a world of instantaneous information at your fingertips the smartphone has changed our lives.  Thanks to the tremendous efforts of my Communications Squadron and the Public Affairs Office with cooperation from other units and agencies across the base, Yokota AB has published its own mobile app!

The Yokota Connect app, which will be maintained and updated by Public Affairs, links users to useful information the Yokota Community wants to know.  It will provide instant access to community and school events, hours for base services, Yokota news and happenings and base directory information.  It also gives the commander the ability to communicate directly to the community through real-time alert messages.

Yokota Connect Highlights

· The download is available free to both Apple and Google users
· One-stop information source saving countless hours of searching the web for the info you need
· Works with iPhones, Android phones, and tablets
· Phone directory for Yokota with direct dial capability
· Push notifications from the AW/CC directly to your phone
· PCS information for those moving to or from Yokota
· Official news and social media
· Easy-to-use layout

Bottom Line

Go to your app store and search for “Yokota” and then download the free app that will make finding Yokota AB information faster and easier.  It gives military, civilians, and dependents access to the most desired information about the Yokota Community. 

Top Useful Features

Here are the things I like the most about the app:

The phone directory is tabbed out by category:  for example, instead of an endless alphabetized list, I can simply choose food to find Pizza Hut or Chili’s or Recreation to find info about bowling or Tama Hills.  By clicking on the phone number, it will immediately dial the number saving me time from actually having to leave the app and manually type the full number in a separate phone application.

One of the stand out features I enjoy the most is the capability to reach every single member of Yokota.  With user enabled push notifications the entire community can be notified of an event or a situation in real-time.  This will keep everyone informed with quick, accurate, and credible information. Examples uses for this feature include notifications for delayed reporting, school cancellations, weather events, safety information, etc. 

Not only is the app useful for those currently stationed at Yokota, but transitioning personnel, whether PCSing or TDY, will find this tool extremely useful.  Those with assignments to Yokota can find information about sponsorship, base maps, lodging, privately owned vehicles, schools, household goods shipping, travel documents, finance, housing, pets, in-processing, employment opportunities and more.   Inbound TDY personnel can also find information regarding the Japanese rail system, shuttle bus services from Narita, and local taxi services. 

Conclusion

Our Airmen and families crave access to accurate and rapid information.  I am pleased to announce Yokota Connect has arrived.  The phone directory, instant push notifications and links to dynamic information make this app a must have for all members of the Yokota community and those that will soon be arriving.  With its sleek design, navigating within the app is a breeze and makes this a worthwhile tool.  You can find it in both the Google and Apple stores for free download simply by searching for “Yokota.”  So what are you waiting for?  

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Strengthening Partnerships

Greetings Team! Strengthening partnerships is one of our Wing’s lines of effort.

Someone once told me that only senior leadership can truly affect our strategic partnerships here in Japan. I humbly submit that is simply not true!

There are many visible ways we can strengthen partnerships while serving here in this beautiful country. For instance, on Yokota we have Japanese partners who work side-by-side with us on a daily basis to accomplish our mission.

The work and effort you put in every day leaves an impression to our teammates of our commitment to this partnership. Additionally, we play host several times a year to our local communities through special events and occasions. Get out and take part in these activities!

Your group is also attached to a “friendship club” with one of our neighboring communities…get involved with these clubs! Our local communities are amazing, get to know the folks around here every chance you get.

Another way we as individuals can help strengthen our partnerships is by being great ambassadors when we are off base. Do the simple things: follow the rules on the train, don’t litter, be polite, don’t wear offensive clothing, etc.…in essence represent your Team to the best of your ability. It sounds simple, and it is! Usually it’s the small and simple things that make a difference.

We can also continue strengthening our partnerships with each other…taking care of Airmen!

Often when we think outside of the box, we can find creative ways to do things more efficient, effectively, safer, more cost effective, etc. One thing we in the 374th Comptroller Squadron are looking at is going to an “All Things Financial” model here within the Wing.

What this would entail is detailing out our financial Airmen to be part of your squadrons. When you have a pay issue, you visit “your” finance guy/gal located in your unit. They will be part of your team, your day-to-day ops, your schedule, etc. Now we aren’t quite there yet with manning or available experience, but it is certainly something that we are exploring and hoping to deliver on in the near term.

 To me, ideas like this help strengthen our internal partnerships. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea or any others that you may have. Thank you again for what you do for us each and every day!

Lt. Col. James Cunningham, 374th Comptroller Squadron Commander

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Build a Strong Community

This is the third in an installment of blogs about our Wing’s Lines of Effort (LOEs) that were recently published.  I would like to examine the role of the 374th Medical Group and how the MDG aligns with the various LOEs.  It would be easy to assume that the Medical Group would align itself under the LOE of “Build a Strong Community” as it is our responsibility to ensure the health care for the 11,000 beneficiaries in our community. 

However, I would ask you to consider that it is also the responsibility of the Medical Group to “Develop World Class Airmen”.  The Medical Group is not unlike other groups on the base that receive young Airmen, straight out of tech school or medical residencies and these young Airmen need guidance and mentoring just as they do for other career fields.  We take this charge very seriously.  The MDG Top 3 hosts monthly Lunch-n-Learns to cover issues that affect all ranks and on all topics.  We have a stringent OJT program and utilize training arrangements with both Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Tripler Army Medical Center to ensure those 3-Level Airmen are successful in achieving 5-Level certification prior to PCSing to a larger facility. We train not only to ensure that we are ready, but to ensure that those we are responsible for are healthy so that they can do the jobs they are trained for…routine mission or contingency mission. 

As we train our medics to care for our patients, we are also training our Airmen to be ready to fight!  We train, exercise and inspect as though the fight is real and right now. As medics, when we shift to a wartime scenario, our entire structure changes to one of teams and we no longer exist in our stovepipes of excellence.  We become teams working together to care for patients, transport patients, move supplies, evacuate patients, thaw blood, perform surgery, etc.  Our training ensures that our doctors, nurses, and technicians will be ready to fight when asked!

And finally, our Medical Group continues to strengthen partnerships with our downtown counterparts to ensure we are able to gain access to services for our patients.  Our doctors and nurses spend many hours training side-by-side with our Japanese physicians in our Japanese Observership Program.  These Japanese physicians have helped decrease our transfer time into local hospitals as well as helping us to better understand the Japanese medical system.  In turn, our staff has taught them the language skills they will need to advance their training in a US medical program.  Our partnership building does not stop here.  We are also working with off-base hospitals to aid in their responses to natural disasters and this has opened more opportunities to work together as one team.

The men and women of the 374th Medical Group are proud to provide you the Best Health Care in the Pacific!

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Developing World Class Airmen: 374th Maintenance Group

Samurai Warriors,

Col Moss in an earlier blog post laid out the Wing’s Lines of Effort (LOEs) that helps guide our efforts to support the Wing’s Mission, Vision and Priorities (MVPs).  What I would like to do is look at one of the LOEs, “Developing World Class Airmen”, and discuss how the 374th Maintenance Group is going to focus on that area to build an A Professional Maintenance Force ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow. 


Training is the life blood of maintenance and is truly one of the cornerstones of what makes our Air Force the Greatest in the World.  Over the next year, training will become the primary mission of the Maintenance Group due to our transition from the C-130H to the C-130J. A fact that may be lost on a lot of folks is how different the aircraft really are even though they look very similar (The J is about 15 ft. longer and has a 6-bladed prop vs. a 4-bladed prop).  A simpler understanding of the differences might be better explained by the comparison of trading out your 1974 Ford Pick-up for the new top of the line 2017 Ford F-150 Super duty.  Think of all the changes in technology and advances that have been made in the automobile industry from 1974 to 2017 and now apply that same concept to a very capable aircraft.                                                                                       

MXG will build World Class Airmen through focusing on not only the tasks that are inherently different, due to the technical differences of the C-130H and C-130J, but we will also refocus our efforts on the basics of maintenance 101 that occur through every task.  The concept of focusing on maintenance 101 is common across all career fields.  The premise is to focus on and build positive habits for those things that we have to do during every task, whether it be in the beginning/middle/or end of a task.  I liken this to putting on your seatbelt when you get into a car…if you have built the positive habit, it becomes something that just doesn’t feel right when you don’t accomplish it.  For maintenance, those tasks become things like reviewing documentation before a task, wearing the proper protective equipment during a task, or doing a tool inventory at the end of a task.  If we pay close attention to detail on the basic steps, it is human nature that that same attention to detail will filter into the more difficult, less common tasks, thus making our maintenance effectiveness and safety that much better. 

Over the next year if we focus our training regimen on building a C-130J technically proficient force with a focused attention to detail that is sustained by basic fundamental maintenance habits, the Maintenance Group will continue the tradition at Yokota AB of developing World Class Professional Maintainers that are second to none at generating Tactical Airlift in a safe, healthy work environment.  Are you ready for the transition?

If It’s in the Air…Maintenance Put it There!!!

 

Col Sean Robertson, 374th MXG Commander

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As One!

“As one!” yelled Maximus Decimus Meridius, former Roman General of the Felix Legions and commander of the Armies of the North, as he led a ragtag group of slaves-turned-gladiators, into mortal combat against a better trained and better equipped legion of Rome’s finest soldiers.  It’s one of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie of all time.  If you’ve seen the Ridley Scott movie, you’ll know instantly what I’m talking about.  The battle occurs during the ludi gladiatori (the games of gladiators) by order of the malevolent emperor Commodus and is intended to be a re-enactment of the Roman victory over Carthage.  It takes place on the arena floor in the iconic Roman Colosseum.  There is not a soul present among the many spectators that does not know that the Carthaginians (portrayed by Maximus and his motley group of slaves) are doomed to be massacred.  But the slaves quickly come together under Maximus’ superior leadership and score a decisive and unanticipated victory over the legionaries of Scipio Africanus, bringing the entire crowd to its feet.  For me, the scene artfully captures something I know to be true in everyday life.  When a team of people have clarity of purpose and unify together towards achieving that purpose—they’re unstoppable, no matter what the odds.  Never underestimate a team that has clarity of purpose and unity of effort!

It’s a truth that we as an Airlift Wing need to embrace now more than ever.  We’re certainly no “band of ragtag gladiators,” but we are part of the smallest, busiest Air Force in our history…and the demands seem to continue to grow.  Our senior Air Force leaders acknowledge and are dealing with the serious disconnect between the Air Force our nation expects and the Air Force it has today.  Yet we still have a no-fail mission to do: we swiftly project airpower throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region to defend our nation, support our partners, and promote a free and stable world.  Make no mistake, this is the clarity of purpose that we should come to work with every day.

That said, being a smaller, resource constrained force demands that we come together and focus our efforts.  If each of us are going to remain physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially balanced...and still be truly effective at our mission in this current environment...we must not only work smarter, but we must apply our manpower, money, equipment, and time on efforts that deliver results.  This is precisely why our wing commander has recently communicated the following four Lines of Effort:  Develop World Class Airmen, Build a Strong Community, A Base Ready to Fight, Strengthen Partnerships.  These Lines of Effort are rally cries that will focus us and guide us as we come together to weed out well-intentioned initiatives and tasks that don’t directly contribute to our aforementioned mission.  The challenges we face today are far too serious, and the implications of failure far too great, to allow ourselves to be distracted by efforts or tasks that don’t deliver mission success.  It will be up to all of us to commit to these Lines of Effort and hold each other accountable to them, lest we find ourselves doing things that don’t directly contribute to one or more of the four focus areas.

In the words of General Maximus, let’s “Come together!  Lock shields!  As one!”

 

Col Robert Dotson, 374th Operations Group Commander

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Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award Survey

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374th Airlift Wing Lines of Effort

Greetings, Samurai warriors! 

Thanks for taking the time to read this article.  The purpose of this writing is to introduce the Wing to a concept that I hope will synchronize our work and better enable us to project airpower and defend the nation.  The concept i’m introducing is the Line of Effort.

            A few weeks ago, the senior enlisted and officer leaders gathered to discuss the Wing’s current Mission, Vision and Priorities (MVP) document.  There was broad agreement that the document accurately captured the elements required to be a successful Samurai warrior.  First, we must be a resilient, combat-ready force capable of swiftly projecting airpower throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.  To do this, we must be bold, smart, aggressive professionals.  Finally, we put a priority on our people, readiness and engagement.  We think the Wing’s MVP is an outstanding guide to what we must become to ensure our nation’s defense and support our partners in a free and stable world.  But the challenge identified by the Chiefs and Colonels gathered was this: how do we operationalize the MVP?  In other words, how do we ensure the Wing is on track to achieve the lofty goals outlined in the MVP given the limited resources available?  After many hours of debate and discussion, we came to the conclusion the Wing needed Lines of Effort (LOEs) that would focus our activities in support of the MVP.  Given the guidance provided in the MVP, we agreed on 4 LOEs for the base: 

  1. DEVELOP WORLD CLASS AIRMEN
  2. BUILD A STRONG COMMUNITY
  3. A BASE READY TO FIGHT
  4. STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIPS

These LOEs provide the necessary guidance and synergy for ensuring the Wing can make an informed decision on where to direct our focus.  Now, each of the LOEs has numerous sub-tasks within it.  After all, Developing World-Class Airmen doesn’t happen simply because we make it a Line of Effort!  In fact, none of these LOEs is stand-alone; they are not designed to be stand-alone.  What they are designed to do is guide the assessment of whether an activity or task supports the accomplishment of reaching the Wing MVP.  In other words, these LOEs enable us to operationalize the MVP.  For example, the recent Exercise falls squarely under the LOE for “A Base Ready to Fight,” which directly contributes to our ability to defend our nation and support our partners.  The LOEs provide a guide for nearly every Wing activity.

Over the coming days and weeks, I will expand on each of the LOEs so that as a community we can understand where we are going and how what happens on this base helps us achieve the MVP. 

Samurai warriors…swift to fight!

 

Col Kenneth Moss, 374 Airlift Wing Commaner

 

 

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Commander's Corner: Dorm Visitor Hours

Team Yokota,

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

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Commander's Corner: Dining Facility Hours

Team Yokota,

I couldn’t be prouder of the way our community is voicing, and more importantly, responding to issues and concerns that impact the quality of life of our Airmen. Recently we had many of our team members voice their concerns about the Dining Facility hours and missed meals. Yokota Air Base employs some of the hardest working Airmen in the Air Force and we need to ensure that they are getting the nourishment that they need to keep the mission going.

Last month an ‘hours of operation’ survey was sent to all meal-card holders to gather data on ways to improve service. After reviewing results of the survey, our Mission Support Group was able to adjust the DFAC hours to better accommodate everyone. These changes have already taken effect.

Some additional information that the Food Service Management Staff wants to ensure everyone knows is that:

-        The Air Force Common Output Level Standard (AFCOLS) required hours of operation for the Samurai Café Dining Facility is 56 hours per week. Currently the DFAC is open 67.5 hours per week exceeding the standard.

-        Customers may also use the DFAC’s Ground Support Meal service which provides 13 menu options available 24-hours a day. Just call the Samurai Café DFAC at 225-8870 or visit their SharePoint page and fill out the request form.

-        The DFAC holds quarterly Food Advisory Council meetings and welcomes customer feedback. They invite meal card holders to join the next meeting on 23 March 2017, from 1130 to 1230 at the DFAC.

Again, this is a great example of how we can continue to improve the way that we take care of Airmen and their families. I encourage everyone to use their chain of command to bring up issues you are facing, and if you feel you need an alternate option, go to www.yokota.af.mil and use the Commander’s Action Line.

 

Col Kenneth Moss

Commander, 374 Airlift Win

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Commander's Corner: Allied Telesis data caps

Team Yokota,

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

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Airlifter of the Week

Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Thomas McCarthy, 374th Dental Squadron dental readiness program manager, on being the Airlift of the Week. McCarthy was selected as the lead for the dental identification and assisted medical examiners with two fallen military personal, conducting 80 radiographs. As a Wing Chapel “Club Beyond” youth ministries volunteer, McCarthy provided weekly guidance for 35 members of Yokota youth providing over 20 hours of one-on-one mentorship. His work ethic and dedication to his squadron and the base chapel set him apart as an outstanding leader and positive role model.

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Dirty Jobs - Yokota's Dirt Boys

This is the second article in a series focusing on and recognizing the 'Dirty Jobs' done by Airmen of the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron.

From keeping the flightline mission ready to maintaining the roads and sidewalks, the behind scenes work done by a small group of Airmen known as the 'Dirt Boys' keeps Yokota's mission going.

The 374th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and equipment shop understand aircraft operations depend on their ability to ensure the flightline remains fully operational.

"Our number one job is to maintain the airfield," said Master Sgt. Frank Uecker, 374 CES pavements and equipment shop section chief. "Through heavy rain, hail or snowfall, ensuring that the airlifting mission here at Yokota is not infringed on is why we're here."

Cement spalls are the most notable obstacle the 'Dirt Boys' face when working to keep. A spall is broken up, flaked, or pitted concrete. Environmental factors stress the concrete, causing it to become damaged and often creating spalls.

"Removing the small breaks as soon as they appear on the airfield is key part of our preventative maintenance practices," said Senior Airman Richard Mora, 374 CES pavements and equipment apprentice.

Additional preventative maintenance practices include clearing storm drains to prevent the runoff of rain or melted snow from flooding the airfield, removing weakened trees that threatened structures, and cutting grass.

"Nobody would ever think that cutting the grass would be an important task to accomplish," said Mora. "However, doing so prevents birds from nesting as well from grass from becoming overgrown and roaming onto runways."

The pavements and equipment shop also works to eliminate foreign object debris from the airfield.

"Whether it is propeller or jet engines, aircraft on the airfield have the potential to suck in FOD," Uecker said. "By eliminating FOD, we prevent unnecessary wear and tear to the engines." 

From shovels and jackhammers to cranes and bulldozers, the duties of the 'Dirt Boys' require them to be experts of a wide assortment of machinery. Their expertise allows the shop to assist other shops and squadrons around base.

"We assist any and everyone on base that needs a helping hand," Mora said. "From helping the heating and ventilation shop install a unit to supporting the maintainers with our cranes to hoist an engine, we do it all.

Mora admitted that the most challenging part of his duties was staying up to date of job knowledge.

"You have to be knowledgeable and have a hunger to learn if you want to be successful," Mora said. "You can't doze off or get sidetracked. People's lives can't afford it. From pedestrians and traffic to the Airman standing next to you, their safety and yours depends on your awareness."

It is clear that the 'Dirt Boys' have earned their nickname. From repairing cement spalls on Yokota's airfield to sawing down trees that may pose a threat to structures around base, their dirt covered uniform at the end of the day is a small sacrifice to ensuring Yokota's mission is not impacted.

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Dirty Jobs - Yokota's pest control

This is the first article in a series focusing on and recognizing the 'Dirty Jobs' done by Airmen of the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The role of entomology Airmen is far reaching. From performing disease vector surveillance to providing base wide pest control services for insects and wildlife, these Airmen utilize both preventative and immediate response maintenance practices to ensure that facilities remain pest free.

Entomology's preventive maintenance program includes the monitoring of the 24 food facilities on base, including the Yokota Community Center, Enlisted Club and Officers Club.

"We ensure that food facilities are pest free environments," said Staff Sgt. Brandon Cenarrusa, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management craftsman. "We also help assist public health with sanitation of any potential issues at the facilities to mitigate potential human health diseases and hazards."

Entomology Airmen employ many different eradication methods when approaching the variety of pests they encounter, including pesticides and baiting, although, identifying and repairing any infrastructure imperfections that may lead to pest, is the most effective.

"By sealing cracks and crevasses, fixing door jams and removing areas where insects can get in and out of facilities, we can eliminate problems before they occur," Cenarrusa said.

Ensuring that all facilities practice effective sanitation procedures is another valuable method they use to prevent pests.

"Throughout our inspections, we provide recommendations to facility managers and individuals around the base to resolve any problematic areas that were the result of improper sanitation practices," said Staff Sgt. Joel Mendoza, 374 CES pest management craftsman. "Insects require food, warmth and water to thrive. If we can eliminate those sources in unwanted areas, we can reduce and suppress insects that are being attracted to that area."

It is the responsibility of everyone on base to do their part in decreasing the presence of pests. By maintaining good housekeeping as well as ensuring windows and floors are sealed correctly, we can minimize the chance of unwanted visitors. In addition, they have the additional responsibility of assisting with the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program.

"We have the responsibility of suppressing the presence of birds throughout the base," Cenarrussa said. "Because birds pose a potential threat to the safety of our aircrew and aircraft, we work alongside Wing Safety to ensure the threat is minimized."

374 CES entomologist also work to keep the airfield wildlife free by baiting and relocating animals such as weasels, ferel cats and dogs.

"Yokota has its own unique challenges when it comes to pest eradication, but that's one of the reasons why I love my job," Cenarrusa said. "Every base you go to is unique - from the pest themselves to the climate and methods of control, there is always an opportunity to learn new things in the career field."

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USO Empire tour visits Yokota

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