18th FSS takes care of Kadena
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Raising morale and supporting Kadena's warrior Airmen and their families are top priorities for the 18th Force Support Squadron here, and they take it very seriously.
The 18th FSS runs many of the facilities where a majority of Kadena's members spend their time and has reinvested more than $9 million into the community in the last year. All money earned by Kadena's FSS programs gets put back into programs in order to revamp building and programs to help boost the morale of the base.
"We put all of our proceeds we make back into the community, so everything we make goes back into Kadena," said Christine Phillipp, 18th FSS Marketing director. "We revamp our own facilities, make better programs and offer discounted prices for Airmen. We do our best to make sure everyone is able to have a lot of fun and for a good price."
One of the biggest projects that Kadena's FSS is currently funding to help give back to the community is re-building the Rocker NCO Club which is scheduled to be torn down in January 2016 and completed over the course of two years.
"We are actually knocking down the Rocker and re-building it from the ground up," Phillipp said. "It is a $49 million project funded completely by excess non-appropriated fund dollars that we have earned, and all services offered at the Rocker will still be offered in different locations."
With the 18th FSS having around 2,500 employees, more than 400 facilities and about 60 unique programs and businesses, they are the biggest force support squadron for any Air Force base in the world.
Being so large allows them to offer an extensive amount of programs ranging from the Single Airman Program to the Aero Club, where military members and their families can go on an island orientation tour or even earn their private pilot's license.
"The Schilling Community Center puts on the Single Airman Program which is huge because anybody who is unaccompanied here can go on deeply discounted tours thanks to the money we get back," Phillipp said. "It's practically pennies for them to go on these tours, and they are different than our normal tours, so they can go go-karting, go on a Battle of Okinawa tour, or even get scuba certified."
In addition to all of the programs and tours on- and off-island, the 18th FSS is in charge of running the Risner Fitness Center, bowling alley, enlisted and officer clubs, Auto Hobby shop and many more.
Because the 18th FSS has so many restaurants and clubs, they also do their part to make sure everyone makes it home safely through their free taxi program.
"Our taxi program ensures customers at our clubs and restaurants that serve alcohol have a last ditch option to get home safely," said Gordon Murdock, 18th FSS community services flight chief. "Of course we hope they have a plan, a designated driver, enough cash left over to catch a taxi home, or even call AADD, but when our guests contact a club or restaurant manager, we'll ensure they have a safe ride home."
The reality is that the 18th FSS makes contact with most base personnel on a regular basis.
"Our mission is to take care of people," said Murdock. "Because we provide such a diverse set of services from childcare to mortuary services, we often couch our mission as being 'from cradle to grave.'
"Our hope is that our investment in programs, services and products are meeting the needs of the community," Murdock continued. "We hope we bring them a taste of home and help make their time overseas a memorable one."
Kadena's FSS receives thousands of comment cards each year thanking them for making their day a little brighter, bringing a taste of home to the challenge of overseas service, or simply just providing great customer service.
However, to Murdock it's just part of the job.
"It's what we do," said Murdock.
To see all that the 18th FSS has to offer and check out what interests you, visit http://kadenafss.com/.