MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — It’s a tradition that evokes holiday spirit and generates some friendly rivalry: Air Force and Navy organizations at this northern Japan base compete for the best holiday card.

This year, 46 cards — each a 4-by-8 sheet of decorated plywood — adorn Risner Circle.

Winners were announced during Friday’s tree- lighting ceremony. First-place went to the 35th Services Squadron’s spinning Christmas tree display; the 35th Fighter Wing earned first-runner up, while Naval Air Facility Security was second runner-up.

Judges were Brig. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, 35th Fighter Wing and base commander, and Col. Donald Weckhorst, 35th Fighter Wing deputy commander.

Winners receive a certificate.

“This jump-starts the holiday season,” said Senior Master Sgt. Carlos Whatley.

“It gives the kids something to be excited for in anticipation of Christmas, and it gives folks at Misawa something to do at night. A majority of folks take a ride around the circle just to look at the cards.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica-Lynne Thompson, 21, painted the winning card for Naval Air Facility Security.

A master of arms, Thompson has been drawing since the age of 10. It took her about 20 hours to draw and paint her design of a girl standing in front of a Christmas tree making a snowman.

“My mother told me it would be good for my résumé,” said Thompson, who hopes to pursue a career in cartooning or video-game design after the Navy.

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