Pacific Bakeries Unite to Keep Shelves Stocked In Mainland Japan

Bakeries in Korea and on Okinawa kept the shelves stocked in mainland Japan after the Yokota AB bakery shut down for repairs.

Across the Pacific, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service bakery and Logistics teams banded together in July to ensure troops and their families on mainland Japan continued to receive much-needed tastes of home after the Exchange’s bakery at Yokota Air Base unexpectedly closed for nearly two weeks of repairs.

The associates’ dedication to Family Serving Family kept more than 150 Express stores, restaurants commissaries and other military programs stocked with bread and bun products from Wonder, Home Pride, Milton’s and Northwest Grains.

Shortages were minimal—no more than a day— as shipments arrived from Korea and Okinawa, said Don Henson, food plant operations manager with the Services, Food & Fuel Directorate under which the Exchange’s bakeries fall.

“This was truly an excellent example of Family Serving Family,” Henson said. “It was tight for a couple of days, but a true team effort between the Services, Fuel & Food Directorate; the Logistics Directorate; the Pacific Region and HQ staff ensured that we completed our mission of serving the best customers in the world with as many bread products as possible.

“We at the Exchange understand the importance of what a taste of home can mean to those serving overseas, so when the Yokota bakery went down, everyone joined in finding a solution to keep the troops and customers supplied.”

Five air shipments from Korea and Okinawa to Japan included 8,976 loaves of bread; 5,360 packs of buns; 974 packages of dinner rolls and submarine sandwich rolls; 894 tortilla packs and 9,590 Burger King buns.

Henson thanked Jeovany Garza, Okinawa Distribution Center manager; Donald Weightman, Okinawa bakery manager; Jonah Thomas, Korea regional fleet supervisor; Johnnie Sledge, Korea bakery manager; and, their bakery and logistics teams.

Their five air shipments from Korea and Okinawa to Japan included 8,976 loaves of bread; 5,360 packs of buns; 974 packages of dinner rolls and submarine sandwich rolls; 894 tortilla packs and 9,590 Burger King buns.

“We at the Exchange understand the importance of what a taste of home can mean to those serving overseas, so when the Yokota bakery went down, everyone joined in finding a solution to keep the troops and customers supplied.”

-Don Henson

Lifelines to America

An associate at the Exchange bakery at Korea’s Camp Market readies Wonder Bread for delivery to mainland Japan.

Sugiyama Maroka and Masako Sawaguchi at the Yokota bakery kept customers aware of any changes to their orders in what Henson called “a magnificent job of customer service.” He also praised senior managers at HQ in Dallas and in the Pacific Region for putting the Yokota repairs as a top priority.

Exchange bakeries are lifelines to America, providing baked goods made with American ingredients to troops and their families, bringing that special taste of home to military communities in Europe and the Pacific, said Pacific Region Commander Col Scott Maskery.

Bakery: true strategic asset

Maskery thanked those bakery and logistics associates, as well as and mission-partner Airmen and civilian employees from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota AB, who stepped up to help their Yokota co-workers and bring the bakery back online in minimal time.

“The Yokota bakery is truly a strategic asset for the United States Forces in Japan and all the service components throughout the country,” Maskery said. “Associates keep the troops and their families fed from Misawa Air Base all the way to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, in all mainland Japan’s commissaries, MWR facilities and dining halls to Navy ships that port and resupply.”

 

Read another story about how associates banded together in a Texas-sized way when the going got tough.

 

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