CAMP ZAMA, Japan — The last time Airman 1st Class Kori Summers was stationed at an Air Force base, it was for the first half of his tech school training; since then, it’s been nothing but Army.

Summers finished the second half of his technical school at the Army’s Fort Gordon, Ga., before heading out to his first Air Force assignment — at this U.S. Army base.

One of 30 airmen with the 374th Communications Squadron’s Operation Location Charlie, which provides the communications footprint for the Zama area and is the hub for western Pacific satellite users, Summers said he isn’t too bothered by living life with the Army.

"It’s all I really know, so it’s not that big a deal," he laughed, explaining that when he first saw his orders to Zama, he thought he was heading to a Marine Corps base.

For any Air Force servicemember, Zama is a unique assignment, said Senior Master Sgt. Warren Ary, Operation Location Charlie’s communications site chief. He said the majority of airmen normally get to interact with their sister services only when they deploy.

For Ary, being the senior airman on the installation can be challenging at times.

"Any time there’s any issue with any Air Force person on Zama, they call me," he said, adding that along with his unit, Zama is host to some other airmen, like those providing weather support.

Ary said there’s also the potential for conflict between certain Air Force and Army policies, such as those governing uniforms, but a simple solution has avoided problems.

"We just go with whatever policy is stricter," Ary said.

Now on his third joint assignment — the second on an Army installation — Tech. Sgt. Christopher Jones said he enjoys the chance to work with other service branches.

"It really changes your mind-set on the whole idea that it really is one team, one fight," he said. He also likes being stationed on a smaller base like Zama.

"You don’t feel like you’re living in a little America, like you do living on the larger bases, like Yokota [Air Base]," he said.

Jones said that his off-duty time with troops of other services has shown him they all share similar problems and experiences.

"When we go home, take off the uniform and are out on our porches, barbecuing, you can’t tell the difference between Army, Air Force or Navy," Ary said.

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 Now