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Single servicemembers at Misawa Air Base no longer need complain that there’s nothing to do in rural northern Japan besides hang out in the dorm or local bars.

EXTREME, a new base program for unaccompanied personnel E-4 and below, is geared toward getting servicemembers out the door and away from the temptations of alcohol to explore Japan, officials said.

“A lot of people complain there’s nothing to do at Misawa and those are the people who don’t go off base,” said Quincy Franklin, the EXTREME program director.

EXTREME was the brainchild of Brig. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, the former base commander. Franklin said Atkins was concerned by the number of driving-while-intoxicated incidents he saw at Misawa and wanted to provide an outlet for single servicemembers to have fun without alcohol.

“This is an alcohol-free program, and everyone who participates understands that,” Franklin said.

The name EXTREME has a two-fold meaning. Franklin said the group will use “extreme” measures to recruit members. “We’ll go out on the streets and ask, ‘Are you single?’ ” he said. “We tell [members] to pull them in here any way you can.”

And then there are the group activities: “We want to show you that you can do extreme things without getting drunk,” Franklin said.

The group plans several outings a month, from caving to kayaking in nearby Lake Ogawara. The first trip was May 8 — a shopping tour in Aomori. The next is a July 31 visit to the Morioka Zoo, about 70 miles south of Misawa.

Through a healthy budget, trips are subsidized and cost, at most, $5 per servicemember for transportation, Franklin said.

So far, more than 100 people have signed up, mostly airmen, Franklin said. Turnout for trips has averaged about 20-25 people.

The group meets about once a month to plan future adventures.

“We get a big pad of paper and ask, ‘What do you guys want to do?’ ” Franklin said. “We make it happen for them.”

A Mount Fuji climb and venture to Tokyo Disneyland are points of interest, Franklin said.

“Now that would be real extreme right there,” he said.

EXTREME is the first group at Misawa available to single airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines. Unaccompanied Navy personnel also may participate in the single sailor liberty program through Misawa Naval Air Facility.

For more information about EXTREME, or to sign up, call Franklin at DSN 226-4128 or e-mail him at quincy.franklin@misawa.af.mil.

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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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