News: Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force flies through open house festival
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
IWAKUNI, Japan - The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force delivered shock and awe to the local community by means of elaborate demonstrations, static displays and flybys during an open house here Sunday.
The JMSDF Iwakuni Festival, celebrated annually in the fall, commemorated the 38th anniversary of the force’s command aboard the station.
The festival helped familiarize local citizens with JMSDF units and activities, and to strengthen exchange and support within the
The JMSDF command here sponsored the festival.
“All JMSDF service members, including myself, feel the local community warmly welcomes our presence here throughout exercising our daily mission,” said Rear Adm. Tatsuya Komatsu, JMSDF Fleet Air Wing 31 commanding officer. “We appreciate your support.”
This festival is a new event for JMSDF to open the gate for everyone to see and familiarize themselves with their facilities, equipment and service members.
“This festival has helped strengthen our foundation of support from the local Iwakuni City community.” said Lt. Cmdr. Hisamitsu Saito, JMSDF FAW-31 public relations officer.
Crowds gathered before the opening ceremony to watch JMSDF aircraft take off to participate in a flyover demonstration after the conclusion of the opening ceremony.
Among the attractions the local community witnessed were helicopter and aircraft flyovers, a drill platoon with fixed bayonets on rifles, static displays of various aircraft and a helicopter carrier.
“There are so many things the visitors can enjoy watching because they do not get to see this on a daily basis,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Masaki Fujisana, a Maintenance Supply Squadron 31 electronics specialist. “I hope the event helps deepen the Iwakuni community’s understanding of our duty and mission.”
The event also gave JMSDF families a boots-on-the-ground avenue to further understand the self-defense force.
“My family and I visited the helicopter carrier first, “said Ayako Jones, an Iwakuni local. “It was exciting to see the helicopters up close. My son really enjoyed watching the airplanes fly. Seeing the flight demonstrations showed us how much the JMSDF service members train every day.”
JMSDF is tasked with the naval defense of Japan.
“I think the roles JMSDF service members play in national defense are getting more significant,” said Yoshihiko Fukuda, Iwakuni City mayor. “My mission as mayor is to ensure the citizen’s safety and security. I think the JMSDF and I share the same goal in a mission of national safety and security.”
There are approximately 1,600 JMSDF service members that work together aboard the station alongside U.S. Marines and sailors in safeguarding both countries well-being.