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Being good neighbors: AFSO 21 eases traffic congestion

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alvin Stewart, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, waits for trucks to arrive to a search pit Nov. 10, 2015, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. An Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team on Kadena implemented an earlier search time for commercial vehicles to keep them from congesting traffic while waiting to get on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alvin Stewart, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, waits for trucks to arrive to a search pit Nov. 10, 2015, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. An Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team on Kadena implemented an earlier search time for commercial vehicles to keep them from congesting traffic while waiting to get on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Tomohiro Nakada, 18th Security Forces Squadron member, searches a vehicle Nov. 10, 2015, inside the search pit at Kadena Air Base, Japan.  Leadership from different squadrons on Kadena came up with a solution to help alleviate traffic congestion on roads surrounding Kadena AB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Tomohiro Nakada, 18th Security Forces Squadron member, searches a vehicle Nov. 10, 2015, inside the search pit at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Leadership from different squadrons on Kadena came up with a solution to help alleviate traffic congestion on roads surrounding Kadena AB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alvin Stewart, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, directs a truck to a search pit at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 10, 2015. The SFS opened an extra lane for commercial trucks to enter and be searched in order to decrease traffic congestion on Highway 58. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alvin Stewart, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, directs a truck to a search pit at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 10, 2015. The SFS opened an extra lane for commercial trucks to enter and be searched in order to decrease traffic congestion on Highway 58. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Tomohiro Nakada, 18th Security Forces Squadron member, guides a truck to the search pit Nov. 10, 2015, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Airmen from the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team on Kadena opened the search pit an hour earlier as a solution to process commercial trucks faster as they arrive on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

Tomohiro Nakada, 18th Security Forces Squadron member, guides a truck to the search pit Nov. 10, 2015, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Airmen from the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team on Kadena opened the search pit an hour earlier as a solution to process commercial trucks faster as they arrive on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Kadena's Air Force Smart Operations project for the 21st Century assisted the local community by alleviating traffic congestion problems entering the base.

By changing the entry time of a search pit from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m., the 18th Security Forces Squadron allows large vehicles to get onto Kadena earlier and relieves the local traffic in front of the gate.

The project began when the 18th Wing received a complaint from local government leaders and the Okinawa Defense Bureau about commercial delivery and construction trucks blocking a section of Highway 58 as they waited for the Gate 1 search area to open, said Captain Steven Brenoskie, 18th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

Thinking of their host nation neighbors, a team composed of different squadrons on Kadena came up with a solution to help eliminate the congestion and ease the local community's commute.

"The solution was an absolute team effort," said Brenoskie. "Everyone, using their unique education, experience, and skill-set, contributed to the development of our Course of Action, which has so far effectively eliminated the issue."

The team's goal of having "zero" trucks stopped on Highway 58 has been met as a result of this project. The AFSO21 team will continue to evaluate the project's effectiveness as time progresses.

"We've implemented this, and so far it has resulted in no commercial truck stack-up on 58, which is great," said Col. Debra Lovette, 18th Mission Support Group commander.

This effort is important to maintaining good relations with Okinawan neighbors and showing them that their concerns matter to Team Kadena.

"It is vitally important that we make every effort to be good neighbors here on Okinawa," said Brenoskie. "By solving this issue, it builds trust with our local neighbors that we do care and want to address the issues they bring to our attention."