Okinawa Essentials

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Did you know. . .

Quick snippets on the sometimes missed, not so obvious happenings on island


NEW!  As of 1 Mar 2008 Kadena AB in no longer weight restricted for Air Force Accompanied personnel and DoD civilians. Accompanied Air Force members having their household goods picked on or after 1 Mar 2008 can now ship their full Joint Federal Travel Regulations/Joint Travel Regulations (JFTR/JTR) weight allowance in/out of Kadena AB.  Read more about this on our blog here.


. . .broken down car:  Did you know that MCCS & AF Club Card holders are eligible for FREE roadside assistance?  This includes towing, retrieving keys locked inside your car, and jump-starting the vehicle.  If your vehicle breaks down and you are a club member, call your respective automotive shop (USMC/Navy call 24-hour Islandwide Towing (Camp Foster 645-6181);  AF call Kadena Car Care Center at 633-0481 - note that AF car care center is ONLY open weekdays and only banker-style hours, so you're out of luck on the discount if your car breaks down outside business we discovered recently).

. . .Dialing TO on-base (from off-base):  Did you know there is a secret combination of numbers that avoids having to dial the exchange number (often busy or overloaded)?  Now you can dial the number directly:

                          Kadena numbers starting with:        Marine Camp numbers starting with:                  

630 = 098-960-               645-= 098-970-

632- = 098-962-             622-= 098-954-

633- = 098-959-              646-= 098-971-

634- = 098-961-               623-= 098-969-

For example, if you wanted to call the 18th SFS Law Enforcement desk (634-2475) or the Office of Special Investigations (634-3590) from your cell phone, you would dial 098-961-2475 or 098-634-3590,
respectively.  Another short example - the off-base (or cell phone number) to reach US-911 emergency
services is 098-911-1911.  We recommend programming these numbers into your cell phones. 

. . .Dialing TO on-base (from off-base) part II:  If you just like to dial a whole lot more numbers, here is the older alternative where you need to (1) dial the access code, (2) wait for the dial tone and then dial the 7-digit number or wait for the operator.

Base access / operator for SOUTHERN CAMPS            
Camps Foster, Lester, Kinser, Futenma, Buckner
(098) 911-5111

Base access / operator for NORTHERN CAMPS            
Torii Station, Kadena AB, Camps Courtney, Hansen, etc
(098) 911-5112

Chibana / Camp Shields
(098) 938-1111


NEW...US Postal Service offers first-time military discount!  A new flat-rate box will be available from the Postal Service after March 3 that is 50 percent larger and delivered for $10.95 to an APO/FPO address -- $2 less than for domestic destinations. The boxes can be ordered at or by calling 800-610-8734 (Send this to your family and friends back home!!!).  Some of the new boxes are co-branded with the logo of "America Supports You," which is a Department of Defense program that connects citizens offering support to the military and their families. For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

. . .produce discounts:  Did you know that every Wednesday at Jusco's you can receive great discounts off the price of fresh produce?  Max-Valu has great discounts on produce on Mondays.

. . .coupons:  Did you know that because you are overseas you can use coupons on base at the PX, BX, and the Commissaries for up to 6 months after the shown expiration date?  Where can you pick these up? Glad you asked!  Once you enter the Commissary and are facing the checkout counters, you will see a customer service window.  Ask for coupons at this window - you are allowed to pick up a stack of coupons once per day.  You can also pick up coupons as the Kadena Library.

. . .education (undergraduate & graduate degrees):  Did you know that military spouses are eligible for free tuition assistance while overseas?  The program is called STAP (Spouse Tuition Aid Program - Navy & Marine Corps; Spouse Tuition Assistance Program - AF).  Check with your local education office for more information.


. . .new shopping carts with "race cars" at Foster:  Did you know that Camp Foster has 4 or 5 new shopping carts that are AWESOME for those with kids?  New carts have side-by-side seating for larger kiddos with a large section resembling a racing car (steering wheels for each of them)...our kids loved them - shopping at the commissary has never been easier!

. . .new Wendy's restaurant:  Did you know that a Wendy's opened recently outside gate 2?  It is located in the new Koza Music Town building at the end of Gate 2 street!  

. . .typhoons:  Did you know that typhoons are same as hurricanes (just a different name in the Pacific than in the United States)?

. . .Space-A upgrade:  Did you know that military members, their dependents, and some civilian personnel (along with their dependents) who are assigned to Japan are authorized two Environmental Morale Leave (EML) opportunities per year?  As with any "Space A" flight, there is still no guarantee of travel or return - so simply put, this is an upgrade in priority status so that you have a better chance of getting on the flight.  See your commander's support staff (CSS) for the required paperwork and documentation.  For more on Space A, contact the information counter at 634-0153, email, or visit the AMC terminal at Kadena AB.  

. . .Inbound/outbound family with pets:  Did you know that the Shogun Inn has new Pet TLFs?  Be sure to reserve one of the eight new rooms that are specifically designed for families with pets, including in-room kennels.  Call the Shogun Inn at DSN 632-1010 for more information or to book a room.

. . .which major international city is closest to Okinawa?  Okinawa is approximately as close to Seoul (Korea), Manila (Philippines), and Hong Kong (China) as it is to Tokyo (Japan). . .each are about 850-1,000 miles away.  


. . .Emergency Room:  Did you know that the emergency room is located on the hospital on Camp Lester (which by the way is the largest overseas hospital in the United States Navy - servicing 55,000+ benificiaries!).  The clinic at Kadena AB closes at 430 pm on Friday, is open briefly on Saturday morning, and then reopens on Monday. 

Make sure you know how to get there (from Kadena, head out Gate 1 southbound onto 58.  A few miles later - just past the ferris wheel on your right and directly across from a Starbucks - is the Camp Lester entrance.  Hospital is right in front of you at that gate).  Their 24-hour information desk can be reached at DSN 315-643-7555.

. . . Weekend medical appointments: Did you know that the Kadena Med clinic has Saturday hours until 12 Noon

. . .Pharmacy & Prescriptions: Did you know that you can call in your prescription refills or pick up medicine at the 24-hour pharmacy at the Naval Hospital on Camp Lester (643-1111)?  So if you run out of something on the weekend, you're still ok.  Check your prescription bottle on the refill line as there are several call-in phone numbers.

. . .On-call doctor:  You went hiking and got a severe rash, should you see the doctor or just pick up some itch cream for it?  Your daughter's fever spiked and she has a headache, is this an emergency?  So if you are thinking to yourself that your only options are going to the ER or waiting out the weekend until Monday, you now have another option. . .

For questions such as these, try calling the Okinawa Clinical Answering Service (OCAS), a free 24/7 hospital question line for ALL military health system benificiaries living in Okinawa.  The number is 643-4245 (from off-base dial 911-5111, then 643-4245).  You will be connected with a receptionist who will ask a few questions and will contact the appropriate provider (doctor/nurse) with your information.  That provider will then contact you directly.  Also see for more information on this.

What else have you discovered that would help other folks on island? 
here to pass it along!!!