Subscribe
Carl Rhodes, 7, Jamie Krills, 9, and Stephanie Krills, 14, swim at Himberg Pool at Misawa Air Base, Japan, on Wednesday. Signing up for swimming lessons is one way base residents in Pacific Air Forces can earn game pieces and win prizes in the 2005 PACAF Pentathlon online virtual board game, which runs to Sept. 30.

Carl Rhodes, 7, Jamie Krills, 9, and Stephanie Krills, 14, swim at Himberg Pool at Misawa Air Base, Japan, on Wednesday. Signing up for swimming lessons is one way base residents in Pacific Air Forces can earn game pieces and win prizes in the 2005 PACAF Pentathlon online virtual board game, which runs to Sept. 30. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Pacific Air Forces for the third straight year has launched PACAF Pentathlon, an online “virtual” board game that rewards players with a collective $30,000 in prizes for using Services division activities.

This year, the program runs two months instead of three, at the request of marketing directors who believed a 60-day span would have more effect, PACAF officials said. It started Aug. 1 and ends Sept. 30.

The game aims to introduce first-time base residents to Services’ activities, rewarding frequent patrons and increasing Services’ long-term customer base, said Amy Lutey, Headquarters PACAF Services marketing chief.

“Summertime is a big rotation where you have a lot of families new to the base,” she said. “This program encourages them to go out to Services’ activities and maybe sign up for a class at the community center that they may not have thought to do … or join the club and get two game pieces.”

The theme this year is “Venture 2 Victory.” Players register at www.pacfive.com, where they also enter game piece numbers. Game pieces are earned differently at each PACAF base.

“We gave each base a generic template [of ideas] and then they tailored it,” Lutey said.

The Pentathlon Web site also lists dozens of ways to acquire games pieces at each base. They include attending Yokota Air Base’s Friendship Festival Aug. 20-21, registering the family pet at Misawa Air Base’s veterinary clinic, singing karaoke at any Osan Air Base club in South Korea or reading a story at the child development center on Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base.

Players progress through five virtual game levels, from climbing Mount Fuji to mastering Korean tae kwon do. After completing each level, they’re entered into that level’s random prize drawing at the end of the program. The three grand prizes — drawn from fifth-level entries — are a Hawaiian cruise for two, a Hawaiian vacation for two and a Harley- Davidson Sportster. Prizes from the other levels include a set of walkie-talkies, an exercise bike, a portable music player, a digital camera with photo printer, watches and cash. Throughout the game, more than 1,000 small instant prizes also will be awarded.

“Every time you play a game piece, you either get an instant win or additional entries into the drawings,” Lutey said.

Prizes are covered through commercial sponsors who either donated cash or the actual prizes, Lutey said.

Anyone who is authorized to use Services’ activities or programs is eligible to play. That includes active-duty personnel and Defense Department civilians and their family members, contractors, DOD local national employees, retired military members and their family members. Family members 18 and younger may register and play with their sponsors’ consent.

More than 7,000 participants throughout PACAF played 69,000 game pieces in 2004. Players are limited to entering 25 game pieces a week.

“This is a game for airmen and their families,” Lutey noted. “We hope it increases their morale while they’re assigned to PACAF.”

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.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up