MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — This northern Japan base is feeling the squeeze of deploying 300 airmen for the current Aerospace Expeditionary Force cycle.

Base officials announced Wednesday that four facilities — the post office, Potter Fitness Center, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Traffic Management Office and Equipment Management Element — temporarily will scale back customer-service hours to compensate for reduced staffing.

“We knew that the current deployment was going to hit the 35th Mission Support Group units the hardest so these hour changes were not necessarily a surprise,” said Capt. John Redfield, Misawa spokesman.

Civil engineering and logistics readiness are among those units most heavily tapped for the current deployment, base officials have said.

About 1,400 Pacific Air Forces airmen are deploying for the 120-day September-January AEF cycle. Misawa and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, are supplying the most airmen, about 300 and 600 respectively, according to PACAF officials.

Redfield said more than 250 of Misawa’s deployed airmen are from the 35th Mission Support Group, a diverse unit including communications, civil engineering, services, logistics readiness, security forces and mission support squadrons.

“When you take into consideration all of these people gone, I wouldn’t say any of these are drastic cutbacks,” Redfield said of the reduced operating hours. “Ultimately, it just came down to a matter of having the available workforce.”

Base officials for the last several weeks have put out word that people should expect reduced operating hours and longer customer waiting times across base due to the current deployment.

“Be patient and plan ahead,” Redfield said. “If there’s something you know you’re going to need, please don’t call TMO two days ahead of time if you knew about it for a month. We’re asking people to be a good customer.”

The post office will return to former hours in time for the busy mailing season, Redfield noted.

Both TMO and equipment management, he said, are reducing hours to give airmen time to reconcile transactions, either daily for TMO, or at the end of the week for equipment management.

The new hours ...

Four services at Misawa Air Base, Japan, are scaling back customer-service hours to compensate for reduced staffing during the current Aerospace Expeditionary Force cycle.

The affected offices and temporary operating hours are:

¶ Potter Fitness Center, effective Saturday to March 2006:

Monday-Friday: 4:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

Saturday, Sunday, federal holidays: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

¶ Post Office, effective Saturday through Nov. 19:

Monday-Friday hours remain the same.

Saturday hours (Finance and Parcel Pickup): 9 a.m. to noon.

To volunteer at the post office, call Staff Sgt. Tesha Boyd at DSN 226-3492 or DSN 226-9326.

¶ 35th LRS Equipment Management Element (oversees base equipment and military units’ equipment accounts), effective Monday through March 2006:

Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EME services will remain available on Fridays to help with emergency issues.The office’s emergency number on Fridays is DSN 226- 2940.)

¶ 35th LRS TMO (handles movement of household goods, official passenger travel, personal property claims), effective Monday through May 2006:

Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Passenger Travel/Personal Property sections already are closed after noon on Tuesdays for training.)

— Stars and Stripes

author picture
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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