Kadena Airmen visit school children during training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
A dozen Airmen from Kadena Air Base visited students at Runbini Kindergarten in Omitama City, Ibaraki Prefecture Feb. 1.

The Airmen are part of an American contingent operating from Hyakuri Air Base for an aviation training relocation on mainland Japan.

"This is a great chance for the children to have an international exchange," said Shigeko Toda, the school's principal. "The school hopes to continue to receive visits from Americans in the future."

The Airmen arrived and were immediately greeted by 100 students, most of whom had only met their visiting American English teacher who visits the school once a week. The following two hours were spent playing games, practicing English and singing songs.

The visit, arranged by the Japan Air Self Defense Force officials from Hyakuri AB, was one of several community outreach activities Airmen from Kadena AB took part in while serving from the Japanese air base.

"I loved it," said Staff Sgt. Qweda Jones, a logistics planner from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "I've never had that much experience with children -- it was an eye opening experience."

The Airmen took part in a question-and-answer session with the children, all of whom were five years old. This was followed by singing traditional Japanese songs, and the Americans teaching the Japanese kids the "Hokey Pokey," which was a crowd favorite.

Since arriving to the base, about 70 miles north of Tokyo, Kadena AB Airmen from many different specialties have been accomplishing the flying mission of the aviation training relocation. The community events are designed to provide the Airmen and the community a chance to interact and enjoy each others' company.

"This was a good opportunity to not only share in their culture but for them to experience ours, too," Sergeant Jones said.