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Are You a Club Member?

Yokota has one of the highest percentages of Club Members of any Air Force installation in the world. Over 50% of our eligible base population is a member of either the Officers’ Club or the Enlisted Club. And it makes sense, considering how much members save monthly at various FSS dining facilities or when making travel plans with Outdoor Recreation, Vehicle Ops, or ITT. 

At Yokota AB, Club Members also receive exclusive savings through monthly VIP coupons sent directly to members’ mailboxes.  Also, for every $1 that is spent of your club dues the FSS provides back $2 in benefits such as free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  It pays to be a member!

Becoming a Club Member just got easier, too! Did you know that you’re no longer required to have a credit card to be a Club Member? 

New member applications are available on MyAirForceLife.com. Simply click on the “connect” button and applicants will be redirected to MemberPortal® where they can register their information. 

Are you a Club Member already? Register your existing membership with ease by also visiting MyAirForceLife.com, clicking “connect” and entering in the email address provided at the initial time of sign-up. 

By registering with MyAirForceLife.com prior to 31 August, existing members will automatically be entered to win $10,000. 

Call the Enlisted Club at 227-8829 or Officers’ Club at 225-8526 for questions or assistance with registering.

We look forward to continuing to serve you!

-Major Lon Hopkins, 374th Force Support Squadron deputy commander

 

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Embracing Times of Transition

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong stated that “times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits.  We can make our new normal any way we want.” 

As we continue to Develop World-Class Airmen here at the 374th Airlift Wing, I think we should reflect on this quote and ask ourselves how we are taking advantage of the changing times to take stock of ourselves, purging those habits that are holding us and our Airmen back, prioritizing their considerable talents, and bending the future to our will.

From my perspective in the 374th AMXS, I have seen a lot of change here at Yokota in the past four years. The biggest and best advertised change has been our ongoing transition from the tried and true C-130H to the new hotness, the C-130J; a technical marvel born of the computer age. 

I have witnessed leadership across the 374th Maintenance Group do exactly what Kristin Armstrong implores us, and have seized this time to better train, better communicate priorities, and ensure that the new normal is as close to the ideal state that it can be. Through this deliberate plan of action, the MXG is doing its part to ensure its maintainers, schedulers, analysts, and supply technicians to name a few keep the 374th Airlift Wing the dominant provider of tactical airlift over the majority of the globe in the years to come.

Another ever-changing aspect here in the Air Force are the Airmen that we are entrusted to lead.  Each new batch of airmen come to us better educated and better trained than the last. Those that complain about “Airmen these days…” are a cynical bunch. It is up to us to recognize this and leverage each airmen’s talents to propel our force into the 21st Century. 

Have you ever had a new airman in your work center ask a question, causing you to get back in the regs, only to discover that you yourself were doing something wrong? I know I have.  I also watch with envy as our youngest technicians on Yokota’s flightline diagnose aircraft discrepancies with a laptop, combing through codes and pinpointing faults. I could barely type when I entered the Air Force…  I’m sure that no matter where you work, you see the same kinds of changes and opportunities.

On the other hand, our Airmen, our greatest asset, are still the same in more ways than not to the very first airmen that escaped the bonds of earth in aircraft of canvas and wood. As Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright pointed out at his Yokota all-call, our airmen these days get into the same kinds of mischief that his counterparts did and those that came before him.  And though we all come from a million different corners of the globe, with a million different reasons for serving, we are all the same as we are bonded by our singular mission to project America’s airpower. 

For generations, our Air Force epitomized the nation’s motto, E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, one.

In order to Develop World-Class Airmen, we need to capitalize on their strengths and use our commonality to communicate. Just as you did when you entered the Air Force, whether it was one, 10, or 30 years ago, they want their unique talents to be sought out and recognized. Just as you did, they want to be led by leaders that are passionate about their development. 

This kind of leadership cannot be done from behind a desk and this cannot be done through 140 character tweets. This kind of leadership takes going out and getting into our sections, work centers, and flightlines to truly understand the dynamic, ever changing environment that our people work in. It is then up to you to lead those in your charge to the new normal that you desire.

Ganbatte, Team Yokota!

-Senior Master Sgt. James Herron, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

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Townhall Q&A

Team Yokota,

It was my privilege to be able to speak to so many of you and hear your questions and concerns. Our spouses and dependents are some of the biggest contributors to the success of the military and we appreciate your support every day. I called this town hall so that we could give a little back to you in the form of information. I’ve asked experts across the wing to help me answer some of your questions that came up in our meeting. In some cases, similar questions were blended together for simplicity, and some personal questions that wouldn’t apply to a large audience were left out. 

Why do we need to have FSS and AAFES approval to have a home-based business and can that be addressed/streamlined?

By federal regulation, AAFES has the right to be the sole on-base provider of certain goods and services, so they are able to deny rights to conduct business on-base in some circumstances.  I will say that they provide services for the base that improve our daily lives and they also are a good source of jobs themselves.  Below is the applicable DOD Directive.

DoD Directive 1330.9

4. POLICY 

It is DoD policy that: 

4.1. The Armed Services exchange programs are vital to mission accomplishment and form an integral part of the non-pay compensation system for active duty personnel. As a military resale and category C revenue-producing MWR activity, the Armed Services exchanges have the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and of generating NAF earnings as a source of funding for DoD military MWR programs. 

4.2. The Armed Services exchanges shall be the primary resale activity on DoD installations for non-food merchandise and patron services. This primacy for resale authority extends to the use of any lawful means for selling merchandise or services.

School loan debt and interest costs families thousands of dollars while being stationed here; professional degrees often require a certain number of hours annually. Often employment in particular specialties is only offered as a volunteer position. Loan deferment doesn't stop interest from building on loans. Can this be addressed?

I acknowledge that this is a tough and real problem for many spouses. Unfortunately, this will not have an easy or fast fix.  Here at Yokota we just can’t offer all the jobs that are available stateside. However, I do plan to bring it up during upcoming meetings with legislators in Washington D.C., because the situation overseas is unique for spouses and we need to provide the best situation possible. There are not as many opportunities available as around a CONUS base, so please know that I will take this issue to high-level decision makers.

I applied for a substitute teaching job 6 months ago and have talked with the school secretaries and principals but have not heard response from them and they have no new news to share. 

Currently the hiring process for all federal positions is facing a significant backlog, and Yokota DODEA schools are no exceptionDODEA is working to complete hiring employees as quickly as possible.  Application to employment times can be up to 12 months. We reached out to DODEA in regard to this and they have provided the information below on the current hiring process.

“The hiring of substitute teachers is a priority for the DoDEA Pacific East District and the DoDEA schools on Yokota Air Base. Over the last two year the selection, hiring, and on boarding process has experienced delays across the entire DoDEA System. There are several places along the hiring path

that have contributed to the long delays.

 

“First, applicants must complete all the required paperwork and return the package to the school secretary. Applicants must then thoroughly complete the EQUIP package and submit it electronically to the DoDEA Office of Personnel Security.  Once an EQUIP package and finger prints are reviewed by the Personnel Security Office, the completed package is forward to the Office of Personnel Management for a background investigation and adjudication for eligibility for Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries.

 

“This process is In accordance with Department of Defense Instruction 1402.5.  A Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries background investigations are required for all individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age. The background investigation can take for 120 days to onward to process. In some cases, it has taken a year for the entire process to be completed.

 

“The hiring process was disrupted by the government-wide hiring freeze that was experienced starting in January 2017. Please be aware that delays in hiring of substitute teachers has been elevated to the DoDEA HQ level. At this time we are tracking all requests for background clearance.”

 

When can we expect the East Side CDC to reopen?

The East Side CDC can be expected to reopen as soon as we have enough trained childcare providers. Many of the childcare providers we had PCSed away from Yokota and it has taken time to fill their positions, as those positions require careful screening for the safety of the children. At this time we are also looking at the possibility of adding off-base childcare options.  

I know that this can be a source of stress for families, and we are working the issue as fast as possible while keeping the safety of our children first.

How can we improve the family fitness room at the Samurai Fitness Center? Is there a possibility of childcare at the gym? Can we get a cable machine?

Continuous improvement is always a goal for us. At the moment, we plan to buy new gym equipment for the Samurai Fitness Center and plan to improve the equipment quality and variety in the family fitness room as well. However, with our current low staffing at the CDCs I do not see there being a high likelihood of being able to add childcare at the fitness center.

What legal resources are available to families who want to start online businesses?

Military OneSource (http://militaryonesource.mil) would be the best place to look, it has resources and ideas for spousal employment. Additionally, the Airman and Family Readiness Center has specialists to help with finance, budgeting, and employment. They can be reached at 042-507-6548 or DSN 225-8725.

Can we establish a forum or counsel for Yokota-based home businesses?

Yes. Forum or counsel for Yokota-based home businesses can be established independently as long as it meets the installation policies of private and public organizations on base. Please be reminded, however, that the Exchange has retail primacy on Army and Air Force installations by DOD regulation.  

You mentioned having a base-wide directory of different skills and certifications that spouses and others have on base. Could that be expanded to a directory of home-based businesses as well?

That is a great idea and it is something we’re working on, and hope to have more to you soon on our base-wide directory.

When will the August exercise take place and what will spouses need to have prepared to be ready?

The upcoming exercise is currently planned for August 17, and more information will become available shortly.

If there’s anything you feel like I didn’t answer, please contact me via the Commander’s Action Line, by commenting on this blog, or by reaching out to your unit’s key spouse. I’ll say again-if you haven’t, I highly encourage you to download the Yokota Connect App, available for free on the Android and iPhone stores.  It provides a wealth of information including phone numbers, news, operating hours, and so much more. Thanks for your time and I hope this is useful information!

 

- Col Ken Moss , 374th Airlift Wing Commander

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Peace of Mind Through Preparedness

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Peace of Mind Through Preparedness

As tensions increase throughout the pacific region, those of us stationed at Yokota AB find ourselves preparing for the worst should conflict arise. Multiple CBRNE and disaster preparedness exercises have re-focused our wing to ensure survivability and operability throughout a wide range of disaster scenarios.

While it is important for us to prepare for combat and natural disasters during duty hours, it is equally important to prepare action plans for our families and loved ones so they are taken care of should tragedy strike.  Having a solid action plan in place for our families will help give Yokota personnel the peace of mind that is needed to perform mission duties during a time of crisis.

HH-60G arrives at US Embassy in Liberia to evacuate civilian personnel.  The 398th Air Expeditionary Group was based out of Sierra Leone to provide personnel recovery and emergency evacuation capability for the humanitarian assistance survey team in Liberia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

HH-60G arrives at US Embassy in Liberia to evacuate civilian personnel.  The 398th Air Expeditionary Group was based out of Sierra Leone to provide personnel recovery and emergency evacuation capability for the humanitarian assistance survey team in Liberia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

As a rescue pilot I know first-hand what a well thought out emergency preparedness plan can do to save lives and speed up the recovery or evacuation effort. 

Early in my career I was part of a Non-Combatant Emergency Evacuation (NEO) to evacuate several personnel from the US Embassy in Liberia. While under sniper fire my aircraft was forced to wait on the ground as unprepared civilians schlepped their suitcases and tennis rackets to the aircraft as if they were boarding a first class flight to a resort getaway. 

Not only was my flight crew put in danger due to the delay, the excess baggage meant fewer personnel could board the aircraft and be evacuated. This lack of preparation resulted in extra evacuation flights thus leaving civilian and military personnel in harm’s way longer than was necessary.  The evacuees were not in the right state of mind for an emergency evacuation and it made the event much more stressful than it needed to be.  

Dependents of military members from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, wait to disembark from a C-17 Globemaster III after landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Md., April 1, 2016. Defense Department dependents in Adana, Izmir and Mugla, Turkey, were given an ordered departure by the State Department and secretary of defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Dependents of military members from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, wait to disembark from a C-17 Globemaster III after landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Md., April 1, 2016. Defense Department dependents in Adana, Izmir and Mugla, Turkey, were given an ordered departure by the State Department and secretary of defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Here are a few things you can do to be better prepared for a disaster situation.  Ensure you have a complete and up-to-date NEO folder, and review it with your family and the caretakers of your children.  The more familiarity they have with these government forms, the more at ease they will be when needing to produce them in a time of crisis.  Discuss the NEO process with family back home, and develop a communication plan, as this will help ease panic during a crisis situation.   Create a family action plan complete with “Go Bags” and pre-designated rally points. Program emergency contact numbers in your phone and brush-up on your self-aid buddy care and train your friends and family on SABC as well. Rescue and evacuation resources will be limited during a crisis.

Please do what you can to best prepare Team Yokota to take care of one another!

-Lt Col Scott Adams, 459 Airlift Squadron Director of Operations

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Are You Prepared for the Worst?

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Are You Prepared for the Worst?

Whether you and/or you're family are ready for it or not, Japan's rainy season is upon us. Along with this season comes potentially deadly tropical storms and typhoons that can cripple a city.

Just last year, Yokota was hit by Tropical Storm Mindulle leaving nearly 10 inches of rain behind after hitting the base with 35-mph winds for hours; causing over 300 Yokota Families to evacuate their homes for safety and comfort concerns. This makes it essential that you and your family are prepared in the event of a storm hits Yokota. 

Below you can find some tips to ensure readiness before, during and after a storm hits.

BEFORE

  • Review evacuation plan and assemble an emergency supply kit including:
    • Several days of food
    • Bottled water
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Portable radio
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of all on base natural disaster shelters.
  • Make a plan to care for your family members and pets in case of evacuation.
  • Anchor all outside items that are vulnerable to high winds or relocate items inside.
  • Secure your home or building by closing all exterior doors and windows.
  • Place sandbags in front of ground level exterior doors to prevent floods.
  • Fill privately owned vehicles (POVs) and government owned vehicles (GOVs) with fuel.
  • Make a record of your personal property and store important documents in a safe place. 
  • Take photos or videos of the exterior and interior of your home to record pre-storm condition.
  • Monitor AFN TV, Eagle 810, Yokota AB Facebook Page and the Commander's Channel.  

 

DURING

  • Stay indoors and away from windows, skylights or glass doors. 
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the first or second floor.  
  • To protect from flying debris, keep all curtains and blinds closed.
  • Do not go outside when the “eye of the storm” passes over. 
  • Monitor AFN TV, Eagle 810, Yokota AB Facebook Page and the Commander's Channel. 

 

AFTER

  • Only resume normal activities once “All Clear” notification has been given.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary, avoid hazards and any flooded roads. 
  • If you evacuated your home, do not return until base leadership declares it safe to do so.
  • Beware of insects and animals driven to shelter or higher ground by the floodwaters.
  • When weather conditions permit, open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Keep your families Informed that you are safe and tell them what has happened.
  • Report property damage, hazards or downed power lines to 374 CES at 225-5282 or 225-7310.
  • Monitor AFN TV, Eagle 810, Yokota AB Facebook Page and the Commander's Channel.

 

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Celebrate America!

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Celebrate America!

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 the 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 Grounds. 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.

-Col Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing Commander

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Feathered Prop Bar and Grill

Ok, so here comes my first BLOG…Blog, not exactly sure what that means, but writing I will go.  I will start by stating I fully understand the strategic importance of Yokota Air Base to our nation and our partners within the western Pacific Region.  I also understand how our day-to-day activities are critically important to the readiness and preparedness required to provide a rapid response to natural disasters, humanitarian aid/disaster relief functions or other more direct military operations.  Furthermore, I realize the aviation business is an inherently dangerous business and we must be skilled and diligent in the profession of aviation and aviation support.  And for the record, after three and half years I am very proud to have had the privilege to work side-by-side with the warriors of Yokota Air Base.

With all of that said, for a brief moment I want to go in a slightly different direction and talk about FUN!  That’s right, FUN!  And I’m not talking about the type of fun we have at wing staff meeting, or processing reports.  That’s work, just to be clear.  Instead I will talk about how living on base on Yokota has been fun.  After eighteen years of active duty service, Yokota was my family’s first experience of living on-base.  At first, the close proximity of the garden units took a little getting used to, but we were fortunate and had great neighbors.  Then shortly after we arrived, a friend showed me the Civil Engineering wood pile and from there our experience at Yokota greatly improved.  With a little creative construction we soon had a fire pit worthy to call our own.   Of course, no self-respecting fire pit gathering spot goes without a name, so we opened the, “Feathered Prop Bar and Grill.”  One of the coolest experiences of living on base has been the times when my wife and I simply lit a fire and plopped down in the backyard with a glass of wine.  Then as people wandered by, we would hail a greeting and offer a cold beer.  It didn’t take long before the backyard was filled with people and laughter. 

During the three and a half years we’ve lived here, the backyard fire pit has been the site of typhoon evacuation planning, a retirement ceremony, newcomer welcome dinners, several going away parties, promotion celebrations, the Chase Rice concert after party, Musashimurayama Friendship Club dinner and countless other unplanned events.  The greatest part of all these gatherings was the sense of community and togetherness that flowed.  You’d be amazed at how many people really do know the words to John Denver’s “Take me Home, Country Roads.”  A good brisket, chicken fried steak burn or hamburgers with all the sides and fixings people contributed made each and every meal seem like a Sunday Church gathering meal.  And who can forget a late night snack of bacon and pancakes cooked over an open fire!

Outdoor movies, karaoke with a broom, and the newlywed game often broke the ice and sparked conversation.  For me the part I most enjoyed about our imaginary bar and grill was the opportunity to hear other people’s stories.  A key point to remember is one must have the ability to laugh at yourself.  Let’s face it, we all make mistakes and have embarrassing moments, so have a little faith and share a tale.  So my parting advice to you, readers of this thing called a blog…get out, drag a grill out and have a block party.  Get to know your neighbors, share a burger, beer or coke and laugh with a friend.  Because part of building a strong community is the ability to connect with each other…and for me a key part of that came from the FUN we had around an old Weber grill turned fire pit.  Happy cooking!   

-LtCol Paul Kirk, 374th Ops Group Deputy Commander

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Building Partnerships One Note at a Time

Team Yokota,

 

Continuing Airlift Magazine’s series on “Strengthening Partnership,” today I will write about the efforts of the USAF Band of the Pacific to strengthen Air Force partnerships across Japan, throughout the PACAF AOR, and right here at Yokota.

One of the key missions of the USAF Band of the Pacific is building and strengthening the bonds of friendship between the American and Japanese people. The importance of this relationship was highlighted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis during his visit to Tokyo earlier this year when he stated “the U.S.-Japan alliance is critical to ensuring that this region remains safe and secure – not just now, but for years to come.” By presenting concerts of American music as uniformed active duty service members, we increase the Japanese public’s connection with U.S. military personnel and build bridges with local communities throughout the country. As we participate in Joint and Combined concerts with other U.S. and Japanese military service bands, we provide the public with a visible demonstration of the partnership and interoperability of our forces and the steady commitment of our governments to mutual security. One example of this joint interaction is an upcoming series of public concerts featuring members of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force alongside personnel from the Kaijōjieitai (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) and Kokujieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) - tangible evidence of true partnership in action.

The band is committed to fulfilling our part of the PACAF partnership strategy throughout the entire Indo-Asia-Pacific region. One way we accomplish this is by planning missions in combination with ongoing exercises or key events throughout the AOR. Examples include providing a community outreach component for the annual U.S. Forces Korea and Republic of Korea KEY RESOLVE joint exercise and participating in the 2016 Townsville (Australia) International Air Show which featured combined concerts presented by the USAF Band of the Pacific and the Royal Australian Air Force Band. These partnership-building efforts support recommendations from a 2016 DOD-commissioned Center for Strategic and International Studies independent study which suggested: “Exercises should include whole-of-government engagement, creating institutional connections and individual trust before a crisis occurs.” The band also routinely teams with United States Embassies and Consulates throughout the region to help meet diplomatic needs and create new opportunities for building cross-cultural trust. This year alone, in addition to the already mentioned engagements, the band will expand strategic communication effects with targeted outreach in China, India and Vietnam.

In his blog post on 6 April 2017, Lt Col James Cunningham, 374th Comptroller Squadron Commander, wrote that we should “also continue strengthening our partnerships with each other…taking care of Airmen!” Whether it is protocol support for events such as Community College of the Air Force or Airmen Leadership School graduations or through ceremonial support for changes of command, the arrival of new capabilities such as the C-130J Super Hercules, or the rendering of final honors to a fallen comrade, supporting and strengthening our Team Yokota partners is high priority for the Band of the Pacific.

In his post, Col Cunningham also wrote: “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!” This applies to the band’s outreach efforts. Although it is true that having senior leadership at public events helps demonstrate PACAF’s commitment to partnership building, everyone at Yokota can be part of that endeavor.  Band of the Pacific concerts provide a wonderful, “pre-made” opportunity for service members to engage with members of the host community who have shown, through their attendance at a performance, their willingness to engage with Americans and hear our story.

With two rock bands, a jazz band, a brass quintet, and a saxophone quartet, chances are that in the near future the band will be presenting an outreach event that appeals to your tastes within your local community. As always, there is no cost for admission to Band of the Pacific concerts. Great live music and the opportunity to interact with the people of our host nation – partnership building has never been so enjoyable!

-MSgt Scott Wise, Staff Arranger, USAF Band of the Pacific

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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.     

170525-F-KG439-021.JPG

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

Yokota Air Base is guaranteed either first or second place for the Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award, which means we will receive a monetary prize to use for the morale and welfare of the base. We need your help to decide how to spend it. Please insert your ideas below.

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