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Co’S Holiday Message Happy Holidays! I hope you enjoy this special Holiday Edition of Skywriter. This edition is intended to help you reflect on the accomplishments of 2016 while looking forward to the challenges of 2017. I want to wish everyone on board Naval Air Facility Atsugi a safe, happy, and memorable season as you celebrate with family and friends - whether you remain in Japan or travel to hometowns around the world. Everyone on the NAF Atsugi team both the installation and tenant commands - has reason to be proud of 2016. As you review this special Skywriter, you’ll be treated to a great visual representation of the goals we accomplished together. 2016 was a year in which everyone devoted themselves to the goals of teamwork, professional development, and customer service excellence. I’m proud how our team leveraged these goals into building a strong foundation for an as-yet unwritten future as we face the departure of the fixed-wing elements of Carrier Air Wing FIVE. One of our most significant achievements was using our command goals to develop long-range, multi-use opportunity plans to ensure the installation remains a strong, strategic and essential maritime support location well into the future. I envision 2017 will be the year of the “hidden hero,” as we recognize those hard working, dedicated employees you may rarely see, but who nevertheless form the backbone of the essential services across the installation and tenant commands. Otsukaresama deshita - Thank you for your hard work and dedication in 2016! Let’s welcome 2017 with enthusiasm and devotion to delivering on our operational commitments and quality-of-life services to our most important customers: the Fleet, the Fighter and the Family.

Public Affairs Officer Howard Samuelson Assistant Public Affairs Officer Courtney Pollock Leading Cheif Petty Officer CPO (SW) Ben Farone Editor PO3 Matthew Duncker Contributing Photography

PO1 (SW/AW) Barry A. Riley PO3 Jason Bawgus PO3 Ryan Greene

Host Nation Relations Masako Takakura Sumie Maruyama Ikumi Tanaka

Webmaster Noriko Yamazaki





CSEL’s Holiday Message A s we get ready to turn another calendar page and 2016 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year and wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. As you thumb through this Year-inReview edition of the Skywriter, you’ll notice the many accomplishments made by our team here in Atsugi over the past eleven months. None of these successes would have been possible without you, the Sailors, civilians and MLCs - and of course your families that support you, here at the Navy’s only FDNF carrier air wing support base. You all have epitomized what it means to serve here in the forward-deployed naval forces. The high optempo, countless exercises and operations, the community engagements, and most importantly, the mission of liberty have all been executed flawlessly. Whether it was hosting distinguished visitors, including the SECNAV and US & JSDF Flag Officers, supporting the air wing as they helped USS Ronald Reagan and our Japanese allies complete exercise Keen Sword 17, or engaging with our friends outside the gate through COMRELs at Misono Children’s Home, Terao Elementary School and our monthly beautification project at Yamato Station, you met every challenge and excelled at every turn. Another mission you’ve executed brilliantly was the mission of liberty. Deportment ashore was, and will always be a top priority as we explored the temples, the cities, the food and the culture of our gracious host nation. All of this hard work resulted in what I see as one of our proudest accomplishments – the personal and professional advancement of you, the Sailors that made 2016 another successful and highly productive year here in Atsugi!

January The first month of 2016 brought with it colder temperatures and bit of snowfall here at NAF Atsugi, but the heavy weather didn’t slow down the OPTEMPO of the U.S. Navy’s only forwarddeployed carrier air wing support base. January’s major highlight was the installation’s Noncombatant Evacuation Operation or NEO drill. Spearheaded by Atsugi’s Emergency Management department, the NEO team set up shop in the Trilogy ballroom to help prepare base residents for a possible evacuation of the base in the case of catastrophe. Atsugi Sailors also continued with the giving spirit of the season by participating in the first community service project of the year. Volunteers from across the base spent a very early morning patrolling the fence line just outside the base, collecting discarded items and bagging leaves. As always, our squadrons were busy performing aircraft maintenance and upkeep after their recent return from patrol with USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).


FEBRUARY Between the Pure Praxis SAPR training and the African American Heritage Luncheon at the Far East Galley, February was another busy month here in Atsugi. MWR opened the doors to Club Trilogy early Monday morning, Feb. 8, for Super Bowl 50. The community gathered to watch the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers more than 5,000 miles away in Santa Clara, Calif. Another group of Sailors, from CVW-5 headed down to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to tour the base ahead of the air wing’s move to the installation in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The tour focused on visits to housing units and base services. Fleet and Family Support Center also took time to support the DoD-wide “Military Saves” week initiative and offered training and financial education support for base residents and their families. Units from around the base participated in the Kanagawa Prefectural Police’s annual aircraft mishap drill in Yokohama. This year’s drill simulated the downing of an aircraft and tested immediate response personnel and the interoperability of local police, first response crews and the U.S. Navy.

MARCH As spring weather made its way through the Kanto Plain, a unique discovery was made right here on the base we call home. During an excavation project spearheaded by Public Works Department, earthenware and other archeological artifacts dating from as far back as 40,000 B.C. were found. March 11th marked the 5th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region in 2011. In recognition of the support Japan received from the U.S. military, Ryoichi Sekiya, an ultra-running record holder, visited the base as part of the Tohoku Charity Run. The installation also held a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m., the moment the earthquake struck, 5 years ago. Naval Security Forces took the lead on Exercise Guard and Protect, partnering with our JMSDF hosts to execute a drill scenario designed to minimize enemy effects on critical infrastructure and deny significant impacts to the local populace. Later in the month, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces visited Atsugi, in part, to present Aviation Battle “E� awards to both VAQ-141 and HSC-12.


The first day of April marks the birthday of the Chief Petty Officer. This year was the 123rd anniversary of the establishment of the rate of Chief Petty Officer which came to be on April 1, 1893. Chiefs from throughout the base gathered at Alliance Park to mark the occasion. Several Sailors also took time out from their busy schedules to participate in the production of “Sailors Changing Reality and Educating Against Myths” (SCREAM). The play was organized by FFSC and depicted various scenarios involving sexual assault and the possible outcomes and ways to properly handle of those situations. Kidz Fest was held at Ranger gym to highlight April as Month of the Military Child. Another readiness initiative we saw during the month of April was the base’s pre-deployment fair at Shirley Lanham Elementary School. The fair provided resources for both Sailors and family members alike as squadrons from the air wing prepared for their patrol with USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Not a month goes by without a display of partnership with our Japanese allies and April was no different as VAW-115 and VP-3 from the JMSDF conducted integration operations while VFA-195 executed Benkyoukai exercises with the JASDF 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron. Finally, NAF Atsugi held its annual Spring Festival. the installation opened the base to our neighboring communities outside the fence line and had food vendors and musical entertainment for everyone to enjoy.


May saw its share of high profile distinguished visitors pass through the gates. Ombudsman-at-Large Martha Faller visited NAF Atsugi to meet with base Ombudsman and other quality of life program managers, family members to discuss concerns, challenges and accomplishments within the family support community. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus also made a brief stop in Atsugi as he headed to Tokyo for meetings with senior Japanese defense officials. The night skies were a bit buiser during the month of May as HSC-12 conducted night time search and rescue training. At-sea rescues can come about any time day or night, so these operations are essential to make sure HSC-12 is ready to answer the call wherever, whenever. The Diversity Committee put on a program to recognize the service of Asian American and Pacific Islanders during an event at Club Trilogy and we wrapped up the month the best way possible. Capt. Bushey and CMDCM Wilkins gathered with Sailors at Cinema 77 to pin crows on Atsugi’s newest Petty Officers.




In June we had the opportunity to demonstrate our working relationship with our JMSDF allies to a group of Ambassadors from several countries across Central and South America. Commander Naval Forces Japan, Rear Adm. Carter and CMDCM Farney visited Atsugi to hold an All Hands Call and take questions from Sailors stationed at the base. During the visit they also recognized the hard work and dedication of the Atsugi community. Emergency Management also hosted another NEO Night Out in June to better prepare our Sailors and their families as to what will happen in the event of a mandatory evacuation of families from the base. Chiefs and First Class Petty Officers continued Atsugi’s giving spirit by planting flowers alongside students from Minami Junior High School in Zama. Before we turned the calendar into July, the base took time to recognize LGBT Pride Month and HSM-51 conducted a formation flight with their sister squadron from the JMSDF, VX 51.


The summer weather gave us a chance to hold an All Hands Call and awards ceremony outside at Reid Field. Capt. Bushey presented awards and promoted a combined twenty-four Sailors, civilians and MLCs from across the base. The gathering also provided us with the opportunity to take our annual group photo. As with every month, a group of volunteers headed out to Yamato Station in the early morning to perform their monthly clean-up alongside local community volunteers. After the clean-up, volunteers were given fresh pastries made by a local baker for their efforts. Two of our tenant commands also welcomed new leadership as Cmdr. Sonya Waters assumed charge of Atsugi’s Branch Health Clinic and Cmdr. Carey Castelein took the reins of HSM-51. Rear Adm. James McNeal, commander, NAVSUP Global Logistics Support also visited Atsugi in July to speak with members of NAVSUP FLCY Site Atsugi. McNeal used the visit as an opportunity to present awards and command coins to Sailors and MLCs who support Fleet Logistics in Atsugi.


A little bit of rain wasn’t enough to shut down the efforts of everyone involved in putting on this year’s Bon Odori open base event. Though some portions of the celebration had to be cancelled due to the weather, we still opened the gates for American Fest and wrapped up the evening with a fireworks celebration. Never passing up a chance to participate in the local culture, NAFA’s Awa Dori dancers participated in Yamato City’s Awa Dori festival, demonstrating the months of practice that goes into learning the proper dress and dance moves of this intricate performance. Atsugi also hosted Commdand Sgt. Maj. Rosalba Dumont-Carrion from Camp Zama for the Men’s & Women’s Forum. The event focused on mentorship, health & wellness, education and more. August had its share of distinguished visitors as Navy Surgeon General, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III and Pacific Fleet Training Team Master Chief Jason Knupp came to the base to visit the Branch Health Clinic and provide training to Chief Petty Officers and First Class Petty Officers respectively.

SEPTEMBER September was a memorable month for NAF Atsugi as 17 Chief Petty Officer selectees received their anchors during a pinning ceremony held at Cinema 77. The 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks was observed with a memorial stair climb in honor of the fallen firefighters and emergency responders. Firefighters from local communities joined the NAF Atsugi Fire Department to climb the stairs of housing tower 3069. NAF Atsugi held a mini Bon Odori festival at the installation’s Halsey Gymnasium featuring performances by Bon Odori Dancers, Atsugi Taiko Kids, and command leadership performing on taiko drums. HSM-51 participated in the 2016 Big Rescue Kanagawa Disaster Prevention Joint Drill. The annual exercise took place this year at Japan Ground Self Defense Force’s Camp Takeyama and is designed to test the ability of local and national agencies to coordinate an effective disaster recovery effort.

OCTOBER NAF Atsugi hosted its annual Navy Ball at the Atsugi Convention Center with guest of honor Commander, Navy Region Japan Rear Adm. Matthew Carter. This year’s ball celebrated with the theme “America’s Sailor, for 241 years: Tough, Bold and Ready!” and marking the Navy’s 241st birthday. October was also notable for honoring several conservation and prevention initiatives at the installation. Commanding Officer Capt. John Bushey met with students from Shirley Lanham Elementary School and signed a proclamation at his office that week of Oct. 4-10 would be Fire Prevention week throughout NAF Atsugi. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East Detachment Atsugi held an energy fair at Shirley Lanham Elementary the fair in recognition of Energy Action Month. The event included guests from Tokyo University and local Power companies. Also, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Summit held at Club Trilogy to identify critical issues concerning the SAPR program and to let NAF Atsugi leadership know what works, what doesn’t and identify how this issue can be minimized. Lastly, Sailors participated in the Navy’s Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at the installation’s Halsey Gymnasium evaluating a Sailor’s ability to perform a determined amount of upper body, core and cardiovascular exercises.

NOVEMBER Veteran’s Day was the hallmark of November and was observed with a special ceremony at the remote island of Iwo To (Iwo Jima). NAF Atsugi Commanding Officer Capt. John Bushey led a group of Sailors to the island to raise American flags and lay wreaths to honor the holiday. HSM-51 held a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the squadron at their hangar. HSM-51 was originally established as Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 in 1991 and has served as part of the forward-deployed naval forces continuously for twenty-five years. CVW-5 returned to NAF Atsugi from a scheduled patrol aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) providing a combatready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. The return also marked the final return flight of CVW5 Commanding Officer Capt. John Enfield with the air wing.




66 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE Originally established in 1938 by the Japanese Imperial Navy as Emperor Hirohito’s Naval Air Base, Naval Air Facility, Atsugi now serves as the largest naval air facility in the Pacific and home for the Navy’s only forward-deployed Carrier Air Wing, CVW-5. NAS Atsugi, as the base was then known, was commissioned in December 1950, just three months after General Douglas MacArthur landed here to accept the Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri and assume the duties as military Governor of Japan. Since then, the base has expanded in size and increased in relevance by serving as the centerpiece of dozens of military operations and humanitarian assistance efforts throughout the past six plus decades. The air wing’s seven fixed wing and two rotary wing squadrons fly some of the Navy’s most advanced aircraft and have participated in nearly every engagement in the Pacific, from the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict up to airstrikes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The base has also served as a major hub for providing relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters, including 2011’s Operation Tomodachi. NAF Atsugi’s mission today is to support the combat readiness of Commander, Fleet Air Forward (CFAF), CVW-5, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FIVE ONE (HSM51) and 30 other tenant commands and units assigned to the WesternPacific. Additionally NAF Atsugi provides logistic support, coordination and services to units assigned to the Western Pacific as well as provide for the health, welfare and quality of life for all personnel while enhancing community relationships through respect, fellowship, and charitable events throughout the local communities.


Skywriter Year In Review 2016  
Skywriter Year In Review 2016  

As 2016 comes to a close, Skywriter takes a look back at the past year here at NAF Atsugi.