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Senior Chief Petty Officer Pedro Magistrado, the combined bachelor housing officer at Naval Air Facility Misawa, visits one of five distinguished visitor rooms at the base's Navy lodging. NAF Misawa recently earned the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Award for Excellence in Bachelor Housing Management. It's the fifth consecutive time the command has been named for the award.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Pedro Magistrado, the combined bachelor housing officer at Naval Air Facility Misawa, visits one of five distinguished visitor rooms at the base's Navy lodging. NAF Misawa recently earned the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Award for Excellence in Bachelor Housing Management. It's the fifth consecutive time the command has been named for the award. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

MISAWA NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — A fresh bathrobe with slippers every morning. Free Internet service 24 hours a day. Complimentary soda, water and instant wonton soup.

Guests who stay in the Navy’s combined bachelor housing at this northern Japanese base get five-star treatment.

It’s like lodging in the Holiday Inn but cheaper: $10 a night for most sailors. Distinguished visitors pay more — up to $45 a day — but they get fine Noritake china, a bowl of fresh fruit and flat-screen televisions in their rooms.

But then, Misawa NAF has one of the finest lodging facilities and barracks in the Navy; officials were notified this week that the command will receive the prestigious Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Award for Excellence in Bachelor Housing for 2004.

It’s the fifth consecutive time in 10 years — the award is handed out every two years — Misawa NAF has snagged the Zumwalt.

Navy officials say they believe that streak is a first among Navy commands.

“This truly was a team win, and I’m proud to be part of the team,” said Capt. Wayne Radloff, NAF Misawa’s commanding officer.

More than one command can earn the Zumwalt in a given year but to be eligible, an installation must achieve a five-star rating for both its bachelor permanent residence and transient lodging facilities.

A team of Navy bachelor housing inspectors recommended Misawa NAF for the Zumwalt after visiting the facility earlier this month, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Pedro Magistrado, the combined bachelor housing officer.

“They want to make sure that sailors get the same treatment in every single room,” Magistrado said. “It’s about how you take care of your guest.”

Bachelor quarters at Misawa NAF encompass 771 rooms in six buildings — four for guests and two for enlisted sailors assigned to Misawa.

Magistrado has been a part of two of Misawa NAF’s Zumwalts, including the most recent. One of the first changes he made was to replace bunk beds in the barracks with full-size beds, and reduce occupancy from two to one sailor. He wanted the rooms to be different from the shipboard.

During his almost three-year tenure, the barracks received about $7 million of renovations, to include new furniture, carpet and wallpaper. The latest addition is a “super DV” room, for distinguished visitors. The spacious quarters includes an office and two bathrooms; it’s the only base that accommodates with air-conditioning, Magistrado said.

Magistrado said the key to the five-star rating is its quality of life and customer service. “It’s all about teamwork,” he said of his staff of 21, including sailors and Japanese civilians.

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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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