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FSS supports Kadena first hand, behind the scenes

Early morning patrons of the Banyan Tree Tee House restaurant sit in a scenic dining area while waiting for their breakfast orders.  The Tee House is run by the 18th Force Support Squadron, which received the Food Service Excellence Award for the Pacific Air Force in 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

Early morning patrons of the Banyan Tree Tee House restaurant sit in a scenic dining area while waiting for their breakfast orders. The Tee House is run by the 18th Force Support Squadron, which received the Food Service Excellence Award for the Pacific Air Force in 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

An employee from Kadena’s Tee House restaurant serves customers breakfast with a smile. The 18th Force Support Squadron manages the restaurant and 21 other food operations. The squadron earned the Food Service Excellence Award for the Pacific Air Force in 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

An employee from Kadena’s Tee House restaurant serves customers breakfast with a smile. The 18th Force Support Squadron manages the restaurant and 21 other food operations. The squadron earned the Food Service Excellence Award for the Pacific Air Force in 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

Eloir Hirase and Runi Mori, cashiers at the Banyan Tree Golf Pro Shop, assist a customer before he begins a round of golf. Kadena’s 18th Force Support Squadron earned one of three Air Force-wide "5-star" ratings in 2010 for superior programs and services. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

Eloir Hirase and Runi Mori, cashiers at the Banyan Tree Golf Pro Shop, assist a customer before he begins a round of golf. Kadena’s 18th Force Support Squadron earned one of three Air Force-wide "5-star" ratings in 2010 for superior programs and services. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- So what does the FSS do to care for Kadena? The real question may be what doesn't the FSS do for Okinawa?

With the 18th Force Support Squadron's evaluation for its chance at a record fifth Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Award fast-approaching, FSS personnel are continuing to give the best service to Team Kadena, and beyond.

"We have some of the sharpest young people around," said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Kimble, senior enlisted manager of the Sustainment Services Flight, "that work hard every day and they do an outstanding job taking care of our customers."

The LeMay award focuses on how well the FSS takes care of its customers. The four-person evaluation team will be looking at the quality of programs, customer service, employee enthusiasm, innovation and individual command.

"The FSS provides excellent service, especially from the local Japanese employees," said Capt. David Bird, 18th Operations Group executive officer, who was frequenting one of the FSS's several dining establishments on Kadena. "Of course all FSS employees give top service; there's never bad customer service."

The eateries aren't the only FSS activity which the Captain Bird's family uses. From the Child Development Centers to Information, tickets and tours, The Bird Family relies heavily on FSS activities.

"We use the Shima No Ko for our son, but all three CDCs on base are amazing," Captain Bird said. "We've booked trips with the outdoor recreation center as a family, and we've also used the ITT office in the Schilling for trips."

"I would say the top two services of the FSS I use most are the Outdoor Recreation Center and the woodshop in Crafty Things," Captain Bird said.

Some of the favorite FSS activities on Kadena are no surprise to the squadron's leadership.

"We've got activities that are unique, that no other FSS has," said Chief Master Sgt. Kyle Clement, 18 FSS chief enlisted manager. "Whether it's our laundry or the port mortuary or the two recreational facilities, there's a uniqueness about Kadena that you won't find anywhere else."

The unique laundry service Kadena offers is an island-wide laundry and dry cleaning service with over 300 pick-up and delivery locations. This service supports all branches located on island and cleans nearly 22 million pieces per year, including vehicle upholstery.

"Not only do we take care of folks here at Kadena, but we also have two resorts where we take care of folks in two different time zones, because we also have Bellows (Air Force Station) which falls under us," Chief Kimble added.

Bellows AFS is an Air Force recreation area which is northeast of Honolulu, Hawaii. It, along with the FSS Okuma recreation area in northern Okinawa, the squadron provides military vacation locations for servicemembers and their families not only on Okinawa but throughout the entire U.S. military.

"It's about all the Airmen and civilians that are pouring their hearts out every day to their jobs," Chief Clement said. "I think proper recognition is due for them. The General LeMay Award would justly recognize our employees exceptional service, initiative and passion for taking care of the greatest customers in the world ... it's what we do!"

Did you know?

Overall, the 18th Force Support Squadron is broken down into five flights. Each flight is responsible for providing help and care to Kadena's community with particular services. Not all services are listed here, but for more information, people can visit http://KadenaForceSupport.com:

The Sustainment Services Flight - Handles nearly 200,000 guests each year through the Risner Fitness and Sports Complex, the Shogun Inn and 22 food operations, which includes Kadena's two dining facilities, three clubs and multiple specialty restaurants.

The Manpower & Personnel Flight - Serves over 34,000 customers and 33 units annually, handling common access cards, dependent IDs, updating marriage certificates. The MPF also handles all military personnel, as well as civilian personnel, both American and local nationals. Meanwhile, the Manpower Office manages 9,200 military, civilian and contractor authorizations, as well as the wing's Innovative Development through Employee Awareness (IDEA) program.

The Force Development Flight - Is in charge of all education and training for both military members, including military testing, and civilians, helping them with any on the job training they may need. They also oversee the professional development section, including Kadena's First Term Airmen Center and the base library.

The Airman and Family Services Flight - Maintains Kadena's three Child Development Centers, family child care program, youth and teen centers and youth sports and fitness programs, all totaling care for almost 1,200 children daily. In addition, the flight also manages the Airman & Family Readiness Center, supporting not only unaccompanied Airmen, but entire families on Kadena.

The Community Services Flight - Offers different types of recreational activities and hobbies for Kadena's community. Kadena's Information, Tickets & Travel office provides assistance for those interested in vacationing locally or around the world. The flight also manages Karing Kennels for pets needing a temporary home while vacationers are away. They also provide outdoor recreation such as boating at the Kadena Marina, paintball, swimming at one of four pools or golfing at one of the two golf courses. Indoor activities such as the bowling alleys, Crafty Things, the Auto Hobby Shop and the Schilling Community Center are all part of the Community Service Flight.