MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
Team Misawa hosted Misawa City English Camp 2021 students for a base tour at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 3, 2021.
The visit was the first of its kind since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I felt honored to have even played a small part in this event,” said 1st Lt. Christine Lew, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of operations engineering. “With the onset of COVID, our interactions with the rest of the Misawa community has been limited. I feel it’s important to share and showcase what Misawa Air Base does so we can better foster a great relationship with the local community and continue to further our understanding of one another.”
The Misawa City Board of Education organizes the annual camp for students to sharpen their English and communication skills while meeting service members and being able to experience and better understand the base’s mission.
During the visit, students had the opportunity to interact with Airmen and Sailors from Team Misawa as they visited the 35th Fighter Wing headquarters, 35th Force Support Squadron Misawa Teen Center, 35th CES fire station, Naval Air Facility terminal, Commissary and Base Exchange (BX).
While visiting the various units across the base, the students had the opportunity to experience a piece of military life. At the 35th CES fire station, they watched a firefighter don fire equipment for the first time, the students were then offered the chance to don fire equipment themselves. At the Commissary and BX, the students were able to see the base’s equivalent to their grocery and hardware stores.
Out of the numerous places visited by the students, one moment stood out to Lew.
“My favorite part of the tour was seeing the interest and shock that the students displayed as they learned about the American lifestyle, even in communal locations such as the Commissary where they didn’t expect things to be so different,” stated Lew.
According to Hiroaki Uchiyama, Misawa City Board of Education teachers’ consultant, many students enjoyed visiting the base and left with more of a desire to speak English better than they had before.
“Despite the extremely difficult situation of COVID-19, we were able to successfully complete the Misawa City English Camp for the middle-school students,” said Uchiyama. “We would like to express our appreciation to the base officials.”