Tens of thousands flock to Navy base in Japan for annual Spring Fest
By CHRISTIAN LOPEZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 29, 2019
More than 40,000 Japanese citizens recently converged on Naval Air Facility Atsugi to munch on American barbecue, mingle with servicemembers and get an up-close look at military aircraft.
The main draw for this year’s open-base Spring Festival — held this past weekend at the installation about 25 miles southwest of Tokyo — was a series of static aircraft displays that included the P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s latest generation of anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
Also on hand to greet visitors was the saberhawk mascot for Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77.
“Local Navy leadership is honored to be able to partner with our JMSDF counterparts and share a look at the base, flight line, aircraft and best of the officers and sailors who work here and appreciate the opportunity to serve in Japan,” NAF Atsugi spokesman Sam Samuelson told Star and Stripes in an email.
Atsugi’s next open-base event, called the American Festival & Bon Odori, is scheduled for August.