Okinawa Exchanges prepares storms
Okinawa Exchanges prepares storms
CAMP FOSTER – Typhoon season in Okinawa started on June 1 and lasts until November—and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is making sure military communities will have everything they need to weather the storm.
The Exchanges on the island have worked around the clock to build up their inventory ensuring items that are in high demand during severe weather, such as water, flashlights, batteries and extension cords, are in stock and ready to ship at a moment’s notice.
“It is extremely important for folks, especially those who are new to the island, to have their typhoon emergency kit built and accessible,” AAFES Pacific Region Commander Jason L. Beck. said. “The typhoons here can get very dangerous and even deadly.”
Exchange general managers throughout Okinawa have prepared a section dedicated to helping service members and their families survive the typhoon season with everything they might need for the storm. Items such as battery-operated radios, straps and generators can all be found in one location.
“We try to be proactive prior to the start of typhoon season to get all the gear folks will need to complete their emergency kits,” Kadena Store Manager Flor Payton said. “We even have a checklist available so folks don’t forget items that will make surviving a typhoon easier.”
PAC Region’s command team and managers continuously monitor forecasts and communicate with local commands to ensure their communities’ needs are met during typhoons, hurricanes and tropical storms.
They have teamed up with American Forces Network-Okinawa with public service announcements encouraging folks new to the island to prepare their kits while the weather is still calm.
“It is so important for families to have their kits prepared before the storm,” said Sgt. Maj. Generose Green, AAFES PAC Region senior enlisted leader. “It’s better to have the kit and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
In 2020, careful planning helped the Exchange care for military communities through five hurricanes, one tropical storm and three typhoons on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, and in Puerto Rico and the Indo-Pacific Theater. The Exchange shipped more than 60,000 supplies to BXs and PXs in each storm’s path.
“The Exchange has always been there to support Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Guardians and their families during natural disasters,” Beck said. “Through years of supporting communities before and after typhoons, the Exchange ensures Warfighters and their families are taken care of.”
Additionally, the Exchange’s Disaster Support Group—a virtual meeting of Exchange leaders worldwide—ensures a constant flow of information about typhoon preparedness at every level of the organization.
The Exchange also has mobile field Exchanges—stores on wheels stocked with snacks, beverages and hygiene essentials—on standby in case of severe storm damage requiring military rescue support in affected communities.
Main photo caption:
On Aug. 10, AAFES Pacific Region Command Team, Col. Jason L. Beck, commander, Sgt. Maj. Generose Green, senior enlisted leader, Lt. Col. Lanelle Pickett Jr., deputy commander and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Leanna Lester, food safety officer joins Okinawa General Manager David Swenson and Camps Foster, Kinser and Marine Corps Air Station Food Court Manager Takaki Tokeshi for the official grand opening of Einstein Bros. Bagels at the Spot Food Court on Camp Foster. The grand opening was the fourth Einstein Bros. Bagel to open in the Pacific Region with two in mainland Japan at Misawa and Yokota Air Bases and two in Okinawa, Camp Hansen and Camp Foster as the Exchange continues to provide the military community with “Better for You” dining options.
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