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What Marines really think about Yuma’s quality-of-life programs

26 Oct 2007 | Lance Cpl. M. Daniel Sanchez

  More than 500 service members here participated in the station Marine Corps Community Services Customer Satisfaction Survey June 7 and the results are in.

 Marines and sailors from the vari¬ous commands on base weighed in and MCCS is going to use the results to change the face of MCCS here as Marines know it.

 The 39-question survey covered top¬ics from overall satisfaction with MCCS to what service members think about the station’s educational programs.

 The Marine Corps typically conducts satisfaction surveys every year, but the difference with this one, is that it has been localized to fit the air station, said Don Mitchell, MCCS director.

 A few of the questions Mitchell was referring to included what Marines liked the best and what they liked the least about the MCCS programs here.

 “We want to know what the patrons think about what we do. Whether it be good or bad. We want to know what they think we should be doing,” said Mitchell. “It’s an opportunity for us to ask the question, ‘are we going in the right direction?’”

 Once the responses were tallied and sorted out, MCCS found that Marines were most displeased with the high cost of gasoline sold on base.

 In fact, nearly 50 percent of the par¬ticipants said they spent less money on gas in town then on base and 37 percent rated the value of the gas on base com¬pared to what they pay as unsatisfactory or poor.

 The gas issue is something MCAS Yuma has been working on for years, said Mitchell.

 For the past year the base has been working with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to get more gasoline suppliers to help the base find the cheap¬est seller, and in turn, keep gas prices competitive.

 Another key issue for Marines was the size of Yuma’s exchange, as well as the quantity of merchandise it offers.

 Thirty-seven percent of the service members said Yuma’s exchange is worse or much worse when compared to other installation’s exchanges.

 “There is only one solution for this problem and that is more selling space,” said Mitchell, talking about the addi¬tion of the new Marine Corps Main Exchange, scheduled to be built in 2009 where the base tailor is currently located.

 The new exchange will encompass 75,000 square feet of space, more than double its current size and also offer a larger variety of merchandise, said Mitchell.

 Other major concerns expressed during the survey included a lack of recreational activities as well as inad¬equate training space and equipment at the gym.

 “The number one thing that came out of the survey was (the need for) more outdoor programs and programs for couples,” said Jude Crouch, MCCS Semper Fit director.

 “One of the things we are putting together is called “Discover Yuma.” What that will focus on are the different types of things to do for outdoor recreation here in our own area, within a two-hour drive,” said Crouch.

 “We are also going to start an outdoor mountain biking class,” she said.

 Despite the various issues Marines raised about the MCCS programs, there was some good news.

 Approximately 55 percent of those surveyed said they were more than pleased with the Semper Fit program, while 68 percent said the quality of its personnel was “good” or “outstanding.”

 “We take a Marine centered ap¬proach. We realize that the active duty-service members and their families are the reason we exist, and strive to do things that will make their quality of life better,” said Kate Osborne, Semper Fit Health Promotions director.

 “(The feedback) makes us feel like we are accomplish¬ing what we set out to do, and in that respect, it’s great!” said Osborne.

 Times and cultures are al¬ways changing, said Mitchell. That is why it is important for Marines to participate in these types of surveys.

 If they don’t take the time to voice their opinion and take it seriously, then they won’t be able to see the changes they are seeking, said Mitchell.

 The full results of the sur¬vey can be seen at the MCCS Web site,

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