COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER, CAMP FUJI, Japan --
One thing that differentiates living and working at CATC Camp Fuji from some of the other U.S. bases in the region is that the installation does not have a commissary, due to the small amount of permanent party members assigned to Camp Fuji.
Getting a taste of Americana or whatever one’s craving can be hard to come by for Americans used to particular foods and beverages.
Taking a trip to a neighboring base comes with a cost.
“I have a car, but that encompasses me having to drive three hours. An hour-and-half there and an hour-and-a-half back, plus whatever tolls it costs. If I decide to go to Yokota [Air Base] it’s about 40-dollars in tolls. If I go to Yokosuka, it’s about 32 or so in tolls. Plus, the gas I have to spend,” said Sgt Wilson Ortega, a billeting manager with the S-4 logistics section.
For CATC Camp Fuji members, who can take advantage of regularly scheduled shuttle trips to other bases, they must factor for the amount of time it consumes.
“On the weekends the non-tactical vehicle section has a bus. But now I’m at everyone else’s schedule, so the bus will leave at 10 A.M. and depart from whatever base it goes to around [3 P.M.],” said Ortega, a Brooklyn, New York native. “So now, something that would take an hour if I was back home, or if I was on those other bases, becomes an all-day ordeal.”
When U.S. leaders visited CATC Camp Fuji and asked how the quality of life at the installation could be improved, one topic was often brought up.
“We levied our deficiency and our complaint that we had to drive so far to other commissaries,” said Allen Agra, deputy logistics officer.
In December 2022, the Sagamihara Commissary started offering delivery service to CATC Camp Fuji, through the Click2Go program.
It allows customers to login online and purchase items.
Customer orders placed before noon on a Monday are delivered to Camp Fuji in the same week, on Wednesday.
Anyone eligible to shop at the Commissary can use Click2Go, including service members here for training.
While online shopping has been around for years, shopping for food on the internet has been an adjustment for many people.
Agra said he normally likes to take in the whole shopping experience, which involves many more senses that are not available with the online experience.
“I like to sometimes stroll the aisles and have the smells and sights tell me what I want,” he said.
The Click2Go program also provides a different shopping experience than local Japanese stores.
“For starters, I can read the name of the thing that I’m buying,” said Staff Sgt. Maxwell Lewis, the Communications Maintenance Chief. “It’s useful, because it offers familiarity, the Commissary does a good job of stocking consistent items no matter where you go.”
The program has saved money for Benjamin Rush, CATC Camp Fuji’s communications director. “I used to buy $300 to $400 in groceries and bring it back once a month and I don’t like to spend $50 in tolls, just to go grocery shopping,” he said.
Agra admits that Click2Go has changed his shopping habit. “Instead of going there on a weekly basis, I might go there once a month now,” he said.