MCAS Iwakuni hosts first joint Friendship Day air show
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, opened its gates to approximately 165,000 guests for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day 2015 Air Show, May 3, 2015.
This year, the event expanded to combine both the Fleet Air Wing 31 annual Open House and the traditional MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day, resulting in the first-ever joint Friendship Day air show.
“I think this is a great example of the close coordination we have between the JMSDF and the U.S. forces here,” said Col. Robert Boucher, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni. “This is just an outstanding event to show the spirit and cooperation between our two countries and we’re honored to host it.”
Guests funneled through the gates for Friendship Day, despite the less than favorable weather, to enjoy the new additions to the event and to see the return of the air show.
The last Friendship Day air show was in 2012 and this year the show came back in full force with old favorites like the Blue Impulse and new acts such as the Breitling Wingwalkers, a aerobatic formation display team based out of the United Kingdom.
“In addition to being the first joint Friendship Day air show, it’s also the first time the Breitling Wingwalkers have ever displayed in Japan,” said Boucher. “There are a lot of great firsts happening this year.”
Along with the air show, visitors swarmed the grounded attractions such as the static displays consisting of multiple American and Japanese military vehicles and aircraft, while also frequenting vendors offering both American and Japanese products and snapping photos with any uniformed military member nearby.
According to Boucher, Friendship Day continues to be a great way for Japanese visitors to check out the air station and to experience a little bit of the American culture. After integrating the JMSDF into the festivities this year, he added that he would like to keep Friendship Day as a joint event in the future.
JMSDF Rear Admiral Isao Oseto, commander of Fleet Air Wing 31, mirrored Boucher’s comments saying that it is important for the U.S. and Japan to come together and coordinate events like this because we are not just allies in war but partners during peacetime as well.
To read the story about the Breitling Wingwalkers, follow the link below.