U.S., Japan engineers partner in "Snowblast" fight

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members pause for a photo during the inaugural “Snowblast” event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 14, 2019. The emergency flight gathered for a snowball fight and capture the flag events with members of JASDF. This event provided an opportunity for Airmen to bond with their host-nation counterparts. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jeremy Garcia)
U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members pause for a photo during the inaugural “Snowblast” event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 14, 2019. The emergency flight gathered for a snowball fight and capture the flag events with members of JASDF. This event provided an opportunity for Airmen to bond with their host-nation counterparts. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jeremy Garcia)

U.S., Japan engineers partner in "Snowblast" fight

by 1st Lt. Jeremy Garcia
Misawa Air Base

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron hosted their inaugural “Snowblast” event with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts boosting morale and strengthening relations at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 14.

Participants donned snow gear and prepared a softball field for the large snowball fight. The Japanese and Americans then split off into separate teams, including explosive ordnance disposal, infrastructure and various JASDF flights. Each team crafted impenetrable fortresses leading to a three-way tie in this capture-the-flag themed event.

“We had a really fun time participating in the event and enjoyed the games and hot beverages,” said Tech. Sgt. Kinoshita Hiroshi, a 3rd Air Wing bilateral trainer. “We think the event brought us closer together, and next year, we want to switch up the players so we can integrate with the American teams as well.”

Hiroshi added that although they won, the opportunity improved overall unit cohesion and interoperability among the two nations. Competitions aside, echoed Master Sgt. Eric Abara, the 35th CES first sergeant, they always make time to enjoy each other’s company, despite Misawa's documented 130 inches of snow this winter season and playing on two sides of the proverbial snow fence.

“The 35th CES lives by the motto, ‘work hard, play hard’ and our team put in a tremendous amount of effort during the winter season to ensure Misawa sustains its mission requirements,” explained Abara. “This event allowed us an opportunity to de-stress from the daily grind and enjoy the snow, instead of shoveling it.”

Abara explained that events like this aid in helping Team Misawa members feel welcomed and a part of the community.

“It builds upon and contributes to the everlasting bond with our host nation counterparts,” he added.

Events like this reaffirm the U.S. and Japan's 60-year alliance which has been the cornerstone of stability and security in Northeast Asia. Tech. Sgt. Kyle J. Torrey, the 35th CES structural project planner, added that although Snowblast afforded them an opportunity to enhance interoperability among the two nations it also advanced team cohesion.

“The squadron already teemed with excitement as we got ready for the event, but people were really pumped thanks to our JASDF partners who showed up first to the battle field to show they meant business,” said Torrey. “This made everyone take their forts to the next level.”

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