YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Approximately 150 feet of weather-resistant corridor designed to safely transport patients from one area of the hospital to another now stands in front of the hospital at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Two days prior it was just a parking lot, now it stands as not only a symbol of the level of patient care provided, but as a symbol of the teamwork that goes into Team Yokota accomplishing its mission.
What was quoted as taking weeks to construct for a contractor was erected in a week’s worth of planning and two days’ worth of building thanks to the capability of the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron. It was that capability that allowed the 374 CES to team up with 374th Medical Group to continue providing the quality patient care the residents of Yokota have come to rely on.
“We are in the middle of a 16 million dollar renovation of our facilities right now that has been ongoing for a year and a half,” said Wanita Williams, 374th Medical Support Squadron facility manager. “It was as we were transitioning from phase 5 to phase 6 of said renovation that we discovered some issues that needed to be addressed immediately.
“The issues needed to be corrected but would require closing off a portion of our facility that connected our Urgent Care Clinic to the remainder of the hospital. In order to avoid any possible dip in care we needed to find a solution for transporting patients in emergency situations from one area to another.”
After getting quotes from the contractor handling the renovation, the cost and timetable just did not work with the ongoing renovation for the 374th MDG.
“The solution provided was to create a corridor that ran alongside the facility to provide safe transport but it would have also delayed the main project 6 months,” said Williams. “That’s when we reached out to the 374th CES to try and find a solution.”
It was a unique problem but the Airmen of the 374th CES were well prepared to help out another member of Team Yokota.
“Upon hearing of the potential delay of their renovation we knew we needed to help out,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Vernon, 374th CES heavy repair superintendent. “After a week of planning and two days of building we had the temporary structure in place safely connecting the two portions of the facility.
“Because of the flexibility of our team we were able to find the best possible way to solve this puzzle. We not only avoided the delay but we also saved them about $47,000 on the build.”
It is that flexibility that has allowed the 374th CES to help organizations achieve their missions all around Yokota.
“We are very customer service oriented,” said Vernon. “People come to us with problems and it’s up to us to help them out, it’s what we do. It means our work can be seen all over base and it means a lot to us to know we played a part in helping others accomplish their mission. When we heard the 374th MDG needed help, we took it upon ourselves to make sure the job got done. Their mission is our mission, that’s how teams work.”
With the corridor up and running its presence in front of the hospital is a reminder of just how much of a team effort Yokota is.
“The work they did was truly amazing,” said Williams. “From the beginning they were beyond supportive and understanding of our needs and produced a solution quickly. Their work allowed us to maintain the same level of quality patient care we always strive to provide and we can never thank them enough for that, thank you 374th CES.”