Misawa Friendship Festival honors Hokkaido victims
By Airman 1st Class Xiomara M. Martinez , 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 11, 2018
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Out of respect for the victims of the Hokkaido earthquakes, the 35th Fighter Wing, together with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force 3rd Air Wing, cancelled aerial demonstrations, focusing on ground demonstrations and renaming the event the Misawa Friendship Festival Sept. 9.
“We stand beside our JASDF and Japanese friends and partners during this difficult time,” said Col. Kristopher Struve, the 35th FW commander. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost to the natural disasters across the region. Although this is a difficult time, we at Misawa Air Base still want to open our home to our neighbors; we welcome everyone to come out and stand together as one community.”
Approximately 75,000 attendees filled the flight line for the event, which provided community members an opportunity to see various aircraft, meet military personnel and observe ground demonstrations, encompassing the power of the joint and bilateral forces.
Stationary displays included the JASDF F-35A, Mitsubishi F-2, Kawasaki T-4 and a MH-53 helicopter alongside U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawks, C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker and F-16 Fighting Falcons plus a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon.
“It’s important to show our host nation the purpose of Team Misawa’s joint force missions and how our capabilities play a role in our daily operations,” said Airman 1st Class Justice Jacoby, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman. “Giving the Japanese a look at what we’re working with builds relations with our host nation while giving insight to our mission.”
Asumi Yamamoto, a Misawa Friendship Fest spectator, said she enjoyed visiting the base and getting to see all the U.S. aircraft.
“Seeing the F-16 static display and interacting with service members throughout the day was my favorite part,” said Yamamoto.
Although heavy rain overtook the day's forecast culminating in many last minute changes, Maj. Matthew Sabraw, the 13th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations, said Team Misawa delivered a great day for the community.
“This year’s Air Fest went as well as it possibly could have," Sabraw continued. “We represented the U.S. with a humble strength and competence together, while honoring our Japanese friends.”