NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan – Navy Misawa sailors invited local school children for a tour on board Naval Air Facility Misawa, Aug. 8, 2012.
Students from nearby Shichinohe took the opportunity to tour the base facilities, visited with deployed sailors from both Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 and Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132, and enjoyed interacting with sailors at the base bowling alley and food court.
“I think visits like this, which focuses on interaction between our sailors and the local population can help build upon the friendship and trust we already enjoy with our host country,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lydale Hyde, an NAF Misawa sailor who coordinated the visit. “All our sailors are ambassadors for our country, and it’s great to have this type of exposure so we can give our guests exposure to our base. I think they will walk away with a better understanding of who we are and what we do.”
Upon arriving at the VP-8 hangar, the children were greeted by Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class Brandon Gulley. The Pulaski, Tenn., native allowed the children to try on some aviation flight gear and have their photo taken.
“For me, the most enjoyable part of today’s visit was seeing how excited they were to actually be able to get to try on the survival gear that our aircrew wear, and seeing them give a thumbs up for the cameras,” said Gulley. “It was just as awesome for our personnel giving the tour as it was for the children. It was a great event and a great day for us to show our “Tiger Pride.”
Later on, while being shown an EA-18G “Growler” in VAQ-132's hangar, aircrew returning from flight ops made a surprise appearance. The aviators took the time to speak to the students and pose for photos as well as let them try on their helmets.
“It's pretty fun to show off our flight suits and all our gear that we normally wear out to the jets,” said Lt. Laura Combs, VAQ-132 electronic warfare officer. “It's cool to be able to show these kids what we do, and we’re thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase our aircraft and personnel.”
The excitement coming from the children was mutual.
“My favorite part was going to see the big airplanes,” said Masako Mautsubo, a native of Shichinohe, Japan.
Afterward, the group moved onto base bowling alley where the schoolchildren and sailors partook in a game of bowling. The group later convened at the base’s food court where they enjoyed lunch together.
“It's always a pleasure to have these kids visit,” said Hyde. “It's comforting to know that we can provide some happiness for the kids, as well as the sailors involved. Today was definitely a good day.”
For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, visit https://www.cnic.navy.mil/misawa/index.htm or check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nafmisawa.