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Runway closure causes minor disturbance to PCSing military members

By Airman 1st Class C. Todd Lopez

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (June 16, 2000) -- There will be a temporary silence in Misawa, as Misawa Air Base shuts down its only runway for repairs. During the weeklong closure, U.S. military, Japanese Self-Defense Force, and commercial air traffic will be suspended or rerouted to Aomori or other airports.

Aside from the noticeable absence of roaring jet engines, the June 30-July 6 closure will have little effect on most base residents. Individuals needing air travel to and from Misawa Air Base however, will be effected by changes to their travel plans.

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"Basically, the airport for that time will be Aomori," said Tech. Sgt. Martin Molina, noncommissioned officer in charge of Passenger Travel. "Right now we are booking people in and out of Aomori."

Air travel for Air Force personnel making permanent changes of station into or out of Misawa Air Base, will be routed through Aomori Airport, about an hour and a half drive north west of Misawa.

Individuals who are planning vacation time during the scheduled closure of the runway should be aware they will need to schedule flights from another airport, and may have to provide their own transportation.

Individuals PCSing to Misawa should be alerted to the change by their sponsors. However, according to Capt. Barry Cole, 35th Military Personnel Flight, runway closure coordinator, there will be at least one individual from Misawa in the Aomori Airport to greet arriving individuals.

In order to complete the connection between Aomori and Misawa, the 35th Transportation Squadron and the 35th Services Squadron have coordinated to provide shuttle service to and from Aomori.

"The transportation and services squadron have put together a schedule for the shuttle between Misawa and Aomori Airport," said Cole. "Right now the schedule is tentative, but those looking for answers about the shuttle service may call the transportation squadron for more information."

The shuttle ride is free, and it will pick up and drop off passengers at the Misawa Inn. Those wishing to utilize the free bus service to or from Aomori should contact the Travel Management Office or the transportation squadron.

"This closure will be a minor inconvenience," said Cole, "we're asking if folks don't have to travel, they don't. But people will still be able to come or go if they need to during this time."

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