Kadena Air Base, Japan
The 18th Medical Operations Squadron (MDOS) provides family medicine, internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, women's health, allergy, immunizations, pediatrics, ambulance and comprehensive counseling services. The family medicine team assigns its provider staff to wing units promoting continuity of services. 18th MDOS members also staff the only DoD neonatal intensive care unit in the Pacific region at Naval Hospital Okinawa on nearby Camp Lester.
The 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron delivers aerospace medicine services to enhance human performance and minimize loss from disease and non-battle injuries. The squadron provides expertise in physiology training, bio environmental engineering, public health, flight medicine, health and wellness activities, medical readiness, optometric care and aero medical movements.
Kadena Air Base is the hub of airpower in the Pacific, and home to the Air Force's largest combat wing -- the 18th Wing -- and a variety of associate units. Together they form "Team Kadena" -- a world-class combat team ready to fight and win from the Keystone of the Pacific.
Nearly 18,000 Americans and more than 4,000 Japanese employees and contractors make up Team Kadena. The base's estimated economic impact upon Okinawa's economy is more than $700 million annually.
Okinawa, the principal island of Okinawa Prefecture's 160 or so islands, is often referred to as the "Keystone of the Pacific" because of its strategic location relative to major Far East cities. Kadena is located about 900 miles from Tokyo, Manila, Seoul and Hong Kong, and about 1,200 miles west of Guam. The island is 67 miles long and varies from 2-17 miles wide. The climate compares to U.S. southeastern coastal areas, making it perfect for those who enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, boating and taking part in other recreational activities.
Temperatures range from the mid-90s to high-40s and humidity is relatively high throughout the year. With the heat and high humidity, mold and mildew can be a problem. Plan accordingly when packing goods to be shipped to Okinawa and be prepared to deal with the moist climate when you arrive.
With our normally warm, sunny climate, you will have an opportunity to trek the miles of sandy beaches, enjoy local attractions and visit neighboring islands. Since Okinawa is in "Typhoon Alley," high winds and rain periodically affect the island between July and November. In May, the island usually experiences its rainy season, which lasts about 30 days.
If you take time to learn conversational Japanese and get out and use it, you will find it easy to enjoy the company of the pleasant and industrious people of this subtropical island nestled between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Because of its geographical location, Okinawa has been influenced by many cultures. The most prominent of those are Japanese, Chinese and American.
The primary influence on Okinawan life comes from mainland Japan, since the island is Japan's 47th prefecture. Okinawan business, fashion and social behavior are similar to Japanese. Okinawa's population is estimated at about 1.3 million people.
Kadena has many American familiarities found stateside - Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor, an Italian restaurant, Burger King, Popeyes Chicken, a Cajun restaurant, a Chinese take-out food facility, Robin Hood Sandwich Shoppe and Deli, Taco Bell and several other fast-food outlets. Our movie theater, numerous video rental outlets, golf courses, outdoor roller skating rink, in-line skating rink and state-of-the-art physical fitness centers are some of the best facilities in the Air Force.
Kadena Marina is also nearby, a military recreation facility on the northern part of Okinawa. There are more than 40 beaches on the island, and numerous cultural events and attractions in which to take part. Internet capability is available on Kadena, as is cable television.
The U.S. population in Okinawa approaches 80,000. Nearly 30,000 are active-duty military people from all four branches of the armed forces. One thousand, four-hundred Department of Defense civilians, 700 DoD Dependents Schools teachers and staff, and almost 25,000 U.S. family members form our military community here. Service members reside and train on numerous major installations on Okinawa. Kadena itself is sprawled across some 4,900 acres with an adjoining munitions area of 6,300 acres.
Yen is the national monetary unit in Japan. Most Okinawan businesses near the base take dollars, but at their own exchange rate. It is wiser to buy yen at the military banking facility or clubs where the exchange rate may be more favorable. Dollars are not usually accepted in areas remote from military installations. The further you travel from Kadena, the more you can count on the requirement to pay with yen.