Maintaining resiliency in paradise

Garrett Nicholas Cole
4 min readApr 19, 2022

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HI, UNITED STATES

07.30.2020

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — With Air Force suicide rates rising 33 percent in 2019, and the numbers are trending upwards this year. It is vital for the military to provide the proper tools for resiliency to all members, especially those returning from deployment. Fortunately, Military Wellness and Recreation assists as a part of the whole structure that military resiliency in their recreation facilities, namely Bellows Air Force Station on the northeast side of Oahu.

The 624th Civil Engineer Squadron is getting a chance to support military resiliency by sending members to Bellows for facility maintenance and updates mid-July to aid in that mission.

According to Staff Sgt. Craig Inomoto, 624th CES Operations Management noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Bellows, originally a landing strip during World War II, now serves as a strategic location for members and their families to build and maintain resiliency. The site services military members, Department of Defense employees, retirees, and their families.

“Bellows is a stark contrast to the high-stress tempo environment and family separation members feel when deployed,” said Inomoto. “Bellows acts as a recreation and relaxation type of facility where you can unwind. Deplorers can prepare mentally before and after a deployment.”

With the importance of Bellows, upkeep and maintenance of the facilities are a priority. According to Maj. Shaun Kagawa, 624th CES Operations Flight commander, the 624th CES was able to focus on annual training requirements to meet both facility upkeep and maintaining mission critical skills proficiency.

“The kind of work that we do is pretty much all the trades in construction,” said Kagawa. “Every Airman has a role. Everything, from our newest Airman learning how to swing a hammer, our NCOs leading a small team and planning out a job, to our Senior NCOs who see the big picture and manage all of the specialties required to complete a project.”

Kagawa added that it takes a team to complete a project, especially form the “ground up.” “Facilities aren’t built by one specialist, but requires a team. It starts off with the ‘dirt boys’ putting in a good foundation, then the structures team who go vertical and put up a shell of a building, to the electrical and the utility…

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Garrett Nicholas Cole
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Garrett Nicholas Cole is a freelance writer and photojournalist, currently based in Japan. HTTP://www.garrettnicholascole.com