Pacific Partners Air Festival enriches U.S., Japan friendship

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- A boom rolled across the flight line, announcing the start of what the brooding cloud layer had promised since dawn; within a matter of minutes rain came crashing down as individuals scattered to find cover. What seemed to put a damper on the start of the Pacific Partners Air Festival quickly passed, leaving the sky vibrant blue, delivering a spectacular backdrop for dynamic aerial displays, ground attractions and static displays lining the tarmac, Sept. 10.

Gates opened Sunday morning to nearly 100,000 eager and excited spectators ready to experience U.S. Armed Forces and Japan Self-Defense Force aircraft, military equipment and exhilarating aerial performances.

Aerial acts took to the sky by 9:00 a.m. after the opening ceremony.

Throughout the day there were live musical performances by the Northern Air Defense Force band the Pacific Air Forces’ band and the scent of Japanese and American-style foods lingered in the air.

The event highlighted Misawa’s mission, military life and inspired patriotism in both U.S. and Japan people. Immersing with the community on and off the flight line cultivates deeper ties between the two nations, evidencing the alliance is built on more than just a military foundation.

The lure of the daring aircraft acrobatics, tours of the ground displays and the many booths drew community members from all over Japan.

For both U.S. and JASDF service members at Misawa, planning and preparations started months before. The small team of individuals who had been planning the air show for months grew exponentially over the last few weeks as the execution process became a base-wide effort.

“There were several moving parts that orchestrated the success of this year’s air show, said Maj. Tyson Daw, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron director of operations and air show project officer. “Our Koku-Jieitai partners played a pivotal role in the coordination; working closely with them strengthened our understating of one another’s operations. Coming together for such a large event and pulling it off without a hitch is a phenomenal achievement.”

The only thing higher than the JASDF Blue Impulse demonstration team by the end of the day was the spirit of the crowd.

With Pacific Partners Air Festival now receding into the past, Team Misawa savors the memories created and shared with the Japan community over the weekend, and looks forward to next year’s air festival.

“This was my first air show and it did not disappoint," expressed a spectator. “The F-35 Lightning was my favorite part. It's sleek frame and renowned capabilities I have read about do not do justice to seeing it in person.”