CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Turning off air conditioning in base apartment towers just because the calendar page flips to Nov. 1 is rubbing residents here the wrong way.

Especially when the daytime temperatures on this subtropical island climb into the 70s through December. The average temperature in the winter is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely dips below 50 degrees at night.

Keeping cool was the main complaint of tower residents Wednesday night at a special “town hall” meeting at Zukeran Elementary School conducted by Marine Col. Russell Jones, commander of camps Foster and Lester.

“It gets so hot in my apartment in the winter,” said a woman who lives on the upper floor of one of the nine apartment towers on Camp Foster. She said she battles mold in the winter because the humidity soars when the air conditioning is turned off and the heat is turned on.

“Maybe if the heat wasn’t turned on, it’d help,” said a man who said he lives on the ninth floor of another tower.

November temperatures average 76 degrees during the day and 67 at night. December averages highs of 70 and lows of 61. And the coldest month, January, hits an average daily high of 66 and a low of 58.

“But if we keep the doors and windows open, we get the cigarette smoke from the other apartments,” another resident said.

“The A/C was left on year round in the past and it really made a difference,” said a person identified as a longtime tower resident.

Jones agreed to take the heat on the issue and said he was working with Air Force Housing, which is in charge of all Okinawa base housing.

“We’re discussing keeping the A/C on year-round,” he said. Part of the problem, he added, is that apartments have no cross-ventilation. “We’ve got good feedback from housing on this so far. We’ll see what happens at the end of the month.”

About two dozen tower residents attended the 90-minute meeting, at which the second-most-discussed tower problem concerned parking — for which Jones offered residents little hope.

Each tower resident is allotted 1½ parking spaces — and that’s not going to change, Jones said.

Residents said people park cars overnight in the 15-minute unloading zones and regularly park in the fire lanes and other people’s assigned spaces. Residents were advised to call the Provost Marshal’s Office when they spot an offender and give the license numbers of the illegally parked cars.

They also can write up their own tickets, although if they do they’ll be expected to show up in Traffic Court to testify. The tickets are available online at

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