Yokota Airmen provide a mini boot camp to middle school students
MUSASHIMURAYAMA CITY, Japan -- Right face!...Left face!...Drill commands echo across the field as bewildered Japanese students receive orders from uniformed men and women, directing every move they make.
However, this isn’t a military school, it’s students from the Musashimurayama Fifth Middle School and members with the 374th Medical Group participating in the 13th Annual School Festival mini boot camp obstacle course, July 2.
“This is the only program I know that allows for military to interact with local students,” said Staff Sgt. Gervon Hamilton, 374th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of customer service. “From our perspective, it was quite the experience to visit a Japanese middle school and interact with the students.”
The course taught over 30 students in the 9th grade to perform facing movements, march and how to complete an obstacle course.
“We only had about 20 minutes to teach attendees something it takes us normally one week to learn,” Hamilton, who also led the drill course, said. “Additionally, while the students have taken English courses there is still as language barrier. Regardless, the students did a great job recognizing the commands and marching in formation.”
In addition to experiencing military culture and tradition, the program provided the students an opportunity to hear native-speaking English first-hand.
According to Hina Yamaguchi, a Fifth Middle School student, she and her classmates were nervous about their English proficiency, but they became more comfortable throughout the experience and began to recognize the commands.
“First and foremost, this is a golden life experience for those Japanese students and Airmen, and it shines a positive light on our presence here in Japan,” Hamilton said. “I hope that, later in life, when those students are reflecting on their experiences, they remember the fun they had at the course.”
Overall, the training allowed the students a two-hour break in their daily activities, introducing them to aspects of Air Force culture.