Air Defense Soldiers and Orphans share a Holiday Season of a lifetime

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Upon his arrival, children from the Koki-en Orphanage embrace Santa with a warm welcome during Operation Samurai Santa, Dec. 22. Operation Samurai Santa sponsored by Soldiers and civilian members from the the 10th Missile Defense Battery Command, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, brought gifts and cheers to children during a Christmas party in support of the Koki-en Orphanage children. (U.S. Photo by Staff Sgt. Andre Russo)
Upon his arrival, children from the Koki-en Orphanage embrace Santa with a warm welcome during Operation Samurai Santa, Dec. 22. Operation Samurai Santa sponsored by Soldiers and civilian members from the the 10th Missile Defense Battery Command, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, brought gifts and cheers to children during a Christmas party in support of the Koki-en Orphanage children. (U.S. Photo by Staff Sgt. Andre Russo)

Air Defense Soldiers and Orphans share a Holiday Season of a lifetime

by: Staff Sgt. Andre Russo | .
U.S. Army | .
published: December 30, 2017

In the land of the rising sun, Soldiers and civilian members from the 10th Missile Defense Battery Command, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, visited children from the Koki-en Orphanage in Shariki, Japan, Dec. 22 to spread a little holiday cheer.

The members of the Samurai battalion responsible for maintaining a forward Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance System, or (AN/TPY-2) took some time to give back to their local community.

The community outreach event was an opportunity that brought together the unit members of the Samurai battalion with the Koki-en Social Welfare Corporation Orphanage.

Staff Sgt. Ritchie Shonrasin helped organize the event code named 'Operation Samurai Santa.'

"Being away from family is hard enough, however, today we're able to come together during this event and create bonds and fellowship with our local community," said Shonrasin.

Together the Soldiers and its civilian members raised funds to provide 38 children, ages 3-17, with wish list gifts and stockings.

After a Christmas lunch and performance by the children of Koki-en, a special guest came to greet the children. Santa Claus passed out presents and stockings to the children.

"It was amazing to see the joy in the children's faces as we came together to celebrate the holidays and give them gifts, said Shonrasin.

Seeing their faces with pure joy was all worth it, he added.

Private First Class Timothy Yang, a new member to the unit, explains how the event was memorable for him.

"This was a really heartwarming event to be a part of; it reminds us to enjoy the little things in life."

Seeing the children enjoying their presents was the best part of the event, despite the language barriers, their smiles showed their gratitude and happiness, he added.

Since 2007, members of Samurai battalion have been celebrating the holidays through community outreach and look forward to continuing to support the local community in 2018.

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