Annual tug of war event strengthens US, Japan partnership

pulling with might

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jay Birtch III, the 35th Logistic Readiness Squadron chief enlisted manager, grimaces while pulling a rope during the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force gymnasium at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This tug of war event showcased the partnership and friendship between JASDF, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy military personnel. There were 19 teams, consisting of three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams who competed for the tug of war championship title. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Coming together as one

Participants gather for the opening ceremony during the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This event showcased the partnership and friendship between Japan Air Self-Defense Force, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy military personnel. There were 19 teams, consisting of three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams who competed for the tug of war championship title. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

grimacing through the pain

A participant grimaces while pulling a rope during the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force gymnasium at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This tug of war event showcased the partnership and friendship between JASDF, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy military personnel. There were 19 teams, consisting of three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams who competed for the tug of war championship title. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Bilateral participation pulls together ties

U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members compete in a tug of war competition at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This was the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament in which three U.S. Navy, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams competed to take home the title. This tug of war event showcased the ongoing friendship between the three military components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Bilateral participation pulls together ties

Participants of the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament compete at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force gymnasium, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This tug of war event showcased the partnership and friendship between JASDF, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy military personnel. There were 19 teams, consisting of three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams who competed for the tug of war championship title. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

holding it down

An official referee holds a rope down with his foot during the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force gymnasium at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This tug of war event showcased the partnership and friendship between JASDF, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy military personnel. There were 19 teams, consisting of three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF teams who competed for the tug of war championship title. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

lean back

Japan Air Self-Defense Force members compete in a tug of war competition at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18, 2018. This was the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament in which three U.S. Navy, five U.S. Air Force and 11 JASDF teams competed to take home the title. This tug of war event showcased the ongoing friendship between the three military components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Teams with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force came together to forge friendships and compete in the 16th Annual Northern Air Defense Force Commander’s Cup Tug of War Tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 18.

Nineteen teams competed for the tug of war championship title including three USN, five USAF and 11 JASDF. Team Honey, with the Northern Air Defense Control Group, dethroned the reigning champions, Crazy Horse, with the Northern Aircraft Control and Warning Wing Headquarters.

Although no American teams placed in the top three, participants were grateful for the opportunity to bond with their host nation partners.

“I think an event like this strengthens bilateral ties because not only are we competing with each other, we are also making friends in the process,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Downing, the 35th Operations Support Squadron intelligence flight chief. “The social event after the Tug of War was a great forum to get to know our JASDF brothers on a personal level. There is definitely a language barrier at times, but we get along like old friends. Ultimately, the JASDF put together a great event and I’m honored to have been a part of it.”