By Carrie E. David (SMDC/ARSTRAT)June 1, 2017
KYOTANGO-SHI, Japan -- The Soldiers of the 14th Missile Defense Battery at the Kyogamisaki Communication Site perform their mission under austere conditions: they are in a remote location of a foreign country, and until recently, they lived in a hotel.
In April, these 11 Soldiers, who had been in a hotel since September 2014, moved into permanent quarters improving their living conditions and saving the Army money.
"Moving out of a contracted hotel not only improved the quality of life for our team, but we are also saving the government a significant amount of money," said Maj. Sara E. Cardenas, battery commander. "The Overseas Housing Allowance the Soldiers are entitled to is almost half of what we were paying for the hotel rooms and provide the Soldiers better accommodations. The apartments are also located closer to our site, so less time is required for travel, translating to lower fuel costs and less time spent on the road."
In October 2016, Cardenas spoke with Chenega Guard Force, the contractors who provide security at KCS, about their living situations and learned about the apartments that they lived in. In November, Cardenas allowed the battery's first sergeant to investigate housing requirements and the feasibility of moving the Soldiers into the apartments.
"The commander allowed to me to take the initiative and spearhead this project," said 1st Sgt. Benjamin L. Sharp. "I set up appointments for each of the areas and was the liaison between the housing office, the unit, and the realtors."
March 1, Sharp learned that due to some personnel changes with Chenega Guard Force there would be apartments available. He set up a visit for Camp Zama housing to view them, and then for the next few weeks he worked with the housing office and property managers to work out the details. April 1, the Soldiers moved into their new accommodations.
"This move greatly improved the quality of life for our team. For almost three years the battery has lived in small hotel rooms that would often get cluttered with the Soldiers' possessions," Sharp said. "With this move, the Soldiers now have a real place to call their own. They will have more amenities, such as counter space and cabinets, that many take for granted.
"For me, this was a mission to take care of our Soldiers," he continued. "In a situation such as ours, the small things matter and having a place that is truly yours is very important."
One of the unit's Soldiers talked about how the situation had improved.
"The quality of life here has improved drastically. I look forward to coming back to my apartment at night and having a place to call my own," said Spc. Arjun Sharma, automated logistics noncommissioned officer in charge. "I appreciate the command team making this happen."
The Soldiers of the 14th Missile Defense Battery, while assigned to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's 100th Missile Defense Brigade, are attached to and receive theater support from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.