MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Wish Grissom Dining Facility served more Italian food? Or that the base offered more day trips to Hachinohe? Disappointed in the Parent-Tot Room?

Now’s the time to speak up.

This month and next, the 35th Services Squadron seeks customer feedback on several base services and facilities, including Potter Fitness Center, Grissom Dining Facility and Four Seasons Travel.

Surveys are available on-site. Each serves a different purpose, but generally they’re designed to determine how better to meet community needs, according to Misawa military officials.

Funding — both shortages and surpluses — also drives some survey questions, said Lt. Col. Kari Mostert, 35th Services Squadron commander. For example, the base wants to know who attends which free aerobics classes at Potter Fitness Center. With organizations forced to belt-tighten as war on terrorism costs mount, “we may need to shift some of the burden to the community,” he said. The survey will help Services gather demographics: Are more servicemembers or their spouses rolling out of bed for pre-dawn aerobics?

Answers will be used for planning purposes, Mostert said.

Also a focus of the fitness center questionnaire is the Parent-Tot Room, to decide what improvements should be made. Misawa will get at least $500,000 later this year for being one of three Air Force finalists in the 2005 Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award. The Parent-Tot Room is a candidate for some of the money, Mostert noted.

“To justify to wing leadership why we should spend money in certain areas, we need to have documented support,” he said.

The other surveys are for:

¶ Grissom Dining Facility: Though airmen can note whether they care for the taste of Grissom’s food, Mostert said, the Air Force regulates menus and recipes. “Hot and spicy,” while preferred by some, may not be an option. On a side note, Grissom now is open only to meal-card holders, generally enlisted personnel living in the base dorms, and those on temporary duty. Before its renovation last summer, it was open to all enlisted members. That policy, though not part of the survey, is under evaluation, Mostert said.

¶ Four Seasons Travel: Mostert said Services is asking community members to suggest new tour locations and provide feedback on current trips. “Right now we generally sell out all of our tours, but that could mean people just want to go somewhere and will go anywhere … but that may not be the place they want to go,” Mostert said. Increasing seats on tours is a possibility, though vehicle and driver numbers limits that, the commander said. “If the demand is there, we could potentially expand our capability.”

The Air Force is making random mailings of another survey this week asking people at Misawa about their use of Four Seasons Travel, Outdoor Recreation and the Skills Development Center. Mostert said Misawa has sought funding to build a new facility housing those three services. The money would come from an Air Force Non-Appropriated Funds construction fund and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities renovation fund. An Air Force team that’s to visit the base will use the survey as well as focus groups to determine project need.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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