Shinto priests, Air Force chaplain bless new engine, firefighters at Yokota Air Base
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Japanese Shinto priests joined forces with an Air Force chaplain last week to bless the newest addition to Yokota’s firefighting fleet in western Tokyo.
The Nov. 25 ceremony at the main firehouse featured formal prayers and an offering of food and drink to the Shinto gods on behalf of a new fire engine, an Air Force statement said. Shinto, the ethnic faith of Japan, is one of the country’s major religions, along with Buddhism.
The ceremony is less about the truck itself and more about the lives and property firefighters will save when using it, Lt. Col David McCleese, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, said in the statement. “It’s about making sure our guys come home safely after a call.”
Airman 1st Class Thomas Smith, a 374th CES firefighter, said he is thankful for the prayers.
“I feel that any blessing that you receive, regardless of religion, is a good thing,” he said. “Just knowing that people care and are willing to take the time to come out here to try and make your job safer by blessing the truck is a gift.”