YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — In 2004, the Yokota Enlisted Club was apparently the place to be.

The facility recently was named best in the Air Force by the branch’s top services officials, who critiqued establishments around the globe on innovation, management, customer satisfaction and operational results.

“Our employees were surprised,” said Yokota Enlisted Club assistant manager Aaron Feinberg. “When it was announced, the services leadership came down and brought everyone into the ballroom. They made the announcement in front of everybody. It was a great surprise.

“It’s a nice reward for all the hard work the staff did and accomplished over the year.”

While the honor was handed down for last year’s performance, the plaque that will be displayed in Yokota’s facility reads: “2005 Air Force Enlisted Club of the Year.”

Judges praised the enlisted club’s wide range of programming, which included “Yokota Idol,” state admission days at Charlie T’s restaurant, comedy showcases and the weekly Kids Klub.

The popular Football Frenzy every Tuesday night — when the NFL’s Monday Night Football game is replayed on the bar’s big-screen TVs, accompanied by trivia contests, drawings and other giveaways — was the best such program in the Air Force two years in a row, based on after-action reports. The club picked up a $3,000 cash prize as part of last year’s selection.

That was used to usher in the 2005 installment of Football Frenzy, Feinberg said. At the club’s quarterly membership night, officials raffled off 40 tickets to the Aug. 6 American Bowl between the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts, with recipients getting free transportation to the Tokyo Dome.

“On the management side, we executed our in-house renovation, replacing the tile, carpets and redesigning the Spectrum Lounge. We also secured appropriated-fund support for the sliding-glass entrance doors,” Feinberg said.

In the 2004 customer feedback survey conducted by Pacific Air Forces, Yokota ranked first in club dining among Pacific Air Forces bases.

According to Feinberg, club food sales increased by $96,000, a gain of 6.3 percent over 2003. Special-function sales were up 16 percent. The Sunrise Bakery and West Side Deli — two of the club’s annex facilities — improved their retail marks by 13.7 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively.

“It’s definitely a shared honor,” he said. “Everyone from the cashiers to the kitchen to the warehousemen, they all share in this recognition. This staff is the best that management has ever been blessed with. They work hard and are really deserving of the award.”

Dave Manino is the Yokota Enlisted Club’s complex manager, overseeing an operation that also includes the annexes, delivery services and a warehouse. About 150 people, two-thirds of them Japanese nationals, are employed by the Yokota Enlisted Club.

Added Feinberg: “Club members also helped us do it. With their support, membership and loyal patronage, they too can be proud of this award. It’s their club. Those that pay the dues helped make this award a reality.”

Stripes in 7

around the web

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