Building smiles: Ammo hosts children's visit
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen from the 35th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight welcomed 45 children from the Shichinohe Children's Home to an afternoon of fun-filled activities here, July 25.
Organized by Staff Sgt. Dominic Gauna, 35th MXS NCO in charge of munitions flight plans and scheduling, the three-hour event was held at the Weasel's Den, the base's indoor recreational area.
Gauna has worked with the home for the past four months providing supplies, renovating the institution and visiting the children.
"My wife and I began by dropping off clothes and food, but then my flight got involved and the project took off," said Gauna.
Recently, he decided to take the next step and bring the children on base.
"A lot of people visit orphanages, but I wanted to introduce them to a different culture on base," said Gauna.
Containing a playground, indoor soccer field, miniature golf course and arcade games, the Weasel's Den was optimal for the group.
"The kids were so excited," said Goto Tatsuya, Shichinohe Children's Home director.
In addition to the Weasel's Den visit, Gauna worked with U.S. Naval Air Facility Misawa security forces and the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight to provide interactions with self-defense materials and the F-6A EOD robot.
"It took a lot of leg work to set this up, but it's worth it to see the kids smile and laugh," said Gauna.
To wrap up the afternoon, members of the munitions flight presented each child with a bag of new clothes.
"Everything we do here is to be good ambassadors," said Gauna. "Part of that is sharing with our Japanese neighbors experiences from the other side of Misawa Air Base's gate."
Despite the language barrier, Tatsuya says the children desire a relationship with Americans in whatever way possible.
Moving forward, Gauna plans to upgrade the home's playground and repaint the facility.
"It's a special relationship between the kids and our munitions flight," said Gauna. "I can tell this will continue beyond when I leave."