Snowed in; Misawa ready for first snowfall

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Grace Nichols
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — While children bask in beautiful autumn leaves in most areas of Japan, children bundle up for a snowball fight at Misawa Air Base, Japan, the Department of Defense’s snowiest base, December 13, 2021.

But snow day has a more literal term for the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron snow and ice control team and the 35th Fighter Wing Command Post. Both agencies work hand in hand to ensure both timely snow removal and road condition alert information happen.

“The command post is the office of primary responsibility for keeping Team Misawa informed of road conditions; this is key to ensuring safety for all Misawa personnel,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Khrysallis Santos, command and control operations superintendent. “The teamwork between agencies that goes into ensuring snow mitigation is significant, service members and families can rest assured that they’re in capable hands.”

Once officially declared, command post controllers ensure base notification is accomplished via AtHoc, Commander’s Access Channel, and the base Info Line as well as base public affairs.

But before the first flurry falls, the 35th CES’s Snow and Ice Plan is created at the end of the last snow season to implement lessons learned.

“The weather doesn't catch us off guard because we've been preparing for it all year and we're ready,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David McCleese, 35th Mission Support Group commander. “Protecting Team Misawa during inclement weather is crucial to ensuring the mission continues with minimal delays.”

This contributes to the knowledge passed on during a working group of relevant agencies from CE to command post prior to the start of the new snow season, ensuring all agencies are on the same page to avoid potential roadblocks — literally and figuratively — when it’s time to execute.

“The role of the 35th CES Snow and Ice Control Team is crucial to both airfield and base operations,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Harris, pavements and equipment noncommissioned officer in charge. “We clear snow routes for contractors, students, Department of Defense employees, and Japanese nationals; we keep airfield operations safe by clearing taxiways, aprons, ramps, and the active runways for our Japanese Air Self Defense Force partners and our flying missions alike.”

To get the latest road conditions, call 226-INFO (4636) or 0176-77-4636 from a cell phone, or visit the Misawa Air Base Facebook page.