MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part feature highlighting the 730th Air Mobility Squadron Operating Location Bravo air terminal ground handling services.
Misawa’s runway will be closed from May 10 to July 5, affecting many families and military members who travel during those times.
Master Sgt. Francisco Aguilera, the 730th AMC superintendent of contracting officer representatives, said Service members, their families, retirees and some Department of Defense civilian contractors can ride on aircraft like the Patriot Express, which often have available seating, called Space-Available or Space-A.
“Even though Misawa will be closed, Yokota Air Base is still open,” Aguilera said. “So you can catch a hop from Seattle, to Yokota, and then catch a train up to Misawa.”
He added members should stay flexible with ticket purchases and always check and compare prices if expense is a concern.
“Sometimes purchasing a one-way ticket can be more than round-trip tickets,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Yerkes, the 730th AMS OL-B air terminal ground handling services contracting officer representatives NCO in charge. “If you end up spending the night in a hotel in Tokyo that can be costly as well.”
Yerkes continued sometimes cost may not be a problem, but individuals should consider how tired they may be when traveling.
“Traveling from America all the way to the Pacific can take a big toll on people,” he said. “If you are taking the overnight bus from Tokyo to [Misawa] it will be another 11 hours of traveling, so it would probably be an exhausting 2 days.”
Francis said although the flightline will be closed, the terminal will still be manned at their temporary location in building 1006. They can answer questions about Space-A, help people with starting an early application process and make it easier for special situations like pet transportation.
“When it comes to pets, customers should get their requirements and papers from the traffic management office before they book their travel. They should also ensure they get the approved kennel type from TMO and purchase that,” said Yerkes.
Another tip he included is to avoid the permanent change of station season which limits open seats.
“Space-A is dramatically affected by the PCS season,” Yerkes explained. “From mid-May to mid-September is what we consider PCS season, and usually a lot of seats are unavailable. During that time, our seat availability goes down by at least half.”
He added depending on a customer’s category, they aren’t guaranteed seating and should prepare for any unexpected travel charges, but suggested everyone look at all available options and work with AMC if they need help using Space-A travel.
“A lot of things come in and out of this base, whether boxes, munitions or personnel, usually AMC is always there helping make the mission happen,” Yerkes said.
For more information about Space-A call, DSN: 226-2371, or visit AMC’s page for other available terminals.