Station scouts visit Zero Hangar
The sound of scurrying feet and boyish laughter echoed off the concrete walls of the Zero Hangar here Feb. 7, 2013.
More than 20 parents and scouts from Cub Scout Pack 77 and Boy Scout Troop 77 visited the hangar to find out more about Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s history.
“I am a big explorer and history buff,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Russell, Cubmaster for Pack 77. “The hangar is one that was originally used, which is pretty cool. This was a great teaching experience for our boys.”
Cub Scout Pack 77 has 36 members and tries to visit attractions and museums around Iwakuni to learn more about the community and implement their core values.
According to their website, the Cub Scouts have been helping young boys’ character development since 1929.
“This display is yet another resource on MCAS Iwakuni that helps our cub scout program,” said Karen Nickson, a cub scout parent. “Through this experience, both scouts and their families learned about the history of international relations and how this played a role in the development of the local community.”
The Zero Hangar and Iwakuni Japanese Naval Air Station were built in 1939 and used as a training facility for carrier-based pilots during the early stages of World War II. Towards the later part of the war, the station converted into an intercept base. The hangars around base housed more than 100 Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters, the most infamous Japanese fighter planes flown throughout WWII, from the initial attack on Pearl Harbor, until the final B-29 assaults on Japan.
Today, there is only one Zero Hangar left on station and it houses a full-scale sized replica of the M-21 Zero, originally made for the Japanese movie, “Zero-Sen-Moyu”. Visitors to the hangar are able to walk around the plane and see other historical items such as photos and uniform gear from the past.
“Visiting the Zero Hangar was a great hands-on experience for our scouts, not only could they read the literature on display, but they were also able to walk around the plane, touch it, and even climb up to the cockpit,” said Nickson. “I know our scouts were excited to have this opportunity.”
The Zero Hangar is open by appointments only during the week, but open to the public on Fridays from 1-3 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, contact the MCAS Iwakuni Public Affairs Office at 253-5551.