Misawa operates through record breaking December snowfall, demonstrates joint and allied force readiness

  • Published
  • By Maj. Cody Chiles
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Joint and allied personnel at Misawa Air Base executed mission-essential training and defense operations directly supporting the Indo-Pacific Command mission while simultaneously receiving a record breaking 72.4 inches of snowfall during the month of December in 2020.

The previous snowfall record recorded by the 14th Weather Squadron occurred when the installation receive 59.4 inches of snowfall in December of 2000. The weather squadron maintains an archive of snowfall records ranging back to the 1950s. 

35th Civil Engineering Squadron snow and ice removal teams, alongside Japan Air Self-Defense Force partners, performed 24-hour operations throughout December to clear installation runways, taxiways, roadways, and parking lots to support uninterrupted airfield and base operations.

“Team Misawa has the best U.S. and Japanese snow and ice removal teams in the Pacific. Their hard work and expertise allowed us to execute uninterrupted operations in a harsh winter environment,” said Col. Jesse J. Friedel, 35th Fighter Wing commander. “Maintaining operational readiness at Misawa directly supports Indo-Pacific Command’s mission to implement a combat credible deterrence strategy capable of denying our adversaries sustained air and sea dominance by focusing on posturing the Joint Force to win before fighting, while being ready to fight and win.”

The 35th FW is the only dedicated U.S. Air Force Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses wing in Pacific Air Forces' area of responsibility. It is the 35th FW’s mission to protect U.S. interests in the Pacific and defend Japan; and deter adversaries through presence, readiness, and ability to project agile combat air power.

During the month of December, U.S. and Japanese forces conducted hundreds of operational sorties at Misawa AB.  

The snow removal was also vital to the 35th Medical Group’s ability to receive and administer initial COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of base personnel, and test nearly 500 base personnel for COVID, to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.

“Joint and allied personnel at Misawa demonstrated we are fully prepared to operate in a demanding environment; and our combat power will always be ready to rapidly respond, at the time and place of our choosing,” said Friedel. “I’m proud of our joint and allied team for their herculean efforts to keep the base running. We have already received more than 100 inches of snow this winter, and we will continue to be ready to fight and win.”