Rocker NCO Club closes after 57 years
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Rocker NCO Club is closing its doors for good after ushering in the new year.
The club has become a staple of Kadena since it was built here in 1958.
Since then, the building has undergone numerous renovations, but now it's time for a brand new building. Therefore, the new year will usher in a new era as the Rocker closes its doors to make way for a new $47 million club complex.
"The last day of operation here at the NCO Club will be Dec. 31, our New Year's Eve Party," said Aaron Feinberg, Rocker NCO Club manager. "We are going out with a bang. We're saying hello to the New Year and farewell to the facility."
The construction is scheduled to take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete and will be in the same footprint of the existing club.
During the next two years of construction, the services at the Rocker will be temporarily relocated to other club facilities.
One major part of the bridge plan is the Skoshi Rocker. Located at Bldg. 103 between Chili's and the Emery Lanes Bowling Center, the Skoshi Rocker is an adult only club that features bingo, slot machines and a beverage and snack bar.
The rest of the operations at the Rocker, such as T-Bones Dining Room, Daily Grind Coffee Shop and the Weekend Enlisted Club Lounge, will be transferred to the Banyan Tree Club. The Enlisted Club Barbershop and all catering operations will continue at the Kadena Officer's Club.
The Rocker NCO Club is a popular spot on Kadena, used for an assortment of events from the Air Force Ball to late-night parties.
"Our Daily count ranges anywhere from 200-500 people on average per day, between all of our activities at the Rocker currently," said Feinberg. "All of the activities in here definitely generated high traffic daily, as well as the big, special parties that we host."
The Rocker NCO Club has a rich tradition and history. Three of the rooms are dedicated to past employees - the Shiraho Room, the Kuba Room, and the Morrell Room.
Mitsy Higa, the dining room supervisor at the Rocker NCO Club, has been working there since 1983. She knew and worked with all of the men that the rooms were named after.
The Shiraho Room is dedicated to Eddie Shiraho, a local national who worked at the Rocker NCO Club his entire career. He started working at the age of 18, starting as a bus boy. Over the many years of his career, he worked his way up to club manager.
"Eddie Shiraho was a legend in the club business," Higa said. "He was one of the first local national club managers in the Air Force."
Another room is the Kuba Room, named after a local national butcher who worked at the Rocker NCO Club his entire career and passed away the day after he retired.
Higa said the area that is now the Shiraho and the Kuba room was once filled with a large garden, but it was turned into a room called the Gold Room. After Shiraho and Kuba left, the room was split into two and each half was dedicated respectively to the two men.
The third room, the Morrell Room, was dedicated to J.C. Morrell, a duty manager who passed away while still employed. Higa said she really liked Morrell, as she worked with him a lot over the years. The room that is now the Morrell Room used to be a kitchen. The kitchen was then moved and the room was dedicated to Morrell for his decades of service to the club.
Higa said she is sad to see the old building go, as she has many great memories from her 32 years of working there, but it will be nice to have a nice new facility.
Once the facility is complete, there will be a new assortment of rooms to be dedicated to hard-working professionals.