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America Fest 2023 returns to Kadena

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cedrique Oldaker
  • 18th Wing

The festival gave local community members the opportunity to meet and interact with U.S. service members, and share their part in Kadena’s mission. Attendees were able to see advanced static aircraft up close and experience American culture all while enjoying live entertainment, food and fireworks.

“Community events like this give us the opportunity to showcase our capabilities as outstanding allies and partners, our mission, and our culture in the spirit of friendship and cooperation,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. David Eaglin, 18th Wing commander. “We hope guests departed America Fest with a better understanding of Kadena Air Base’s mission and of the U.S. service members that serve alongside our Japanese Allies here in Okinawa.”

The event showcased various static aircraft displays from U.S. military branches and the Japan Air Self Defense Force. The static aircraft included both fixed wing and rotary aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, JASDF F-2, and the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion. Support personnel for the static display aircraft explained their roles in defending and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The 18th Wing unveiled its first ever STEM hangar; an exhibit hall full of hands-on experiences designed to inspire youth to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics through demonstrations from units across Kadena. The displays featured aircraft flying simulators, emergency medical care demonstrations and engine inspection walk throughs.

“The simulator was very fun, I felt like I was flying an airplane,” said an event attendee. “Everyone responded in a friendly manner when I asked questions and everyone had detailed knowledge.”

Kadena hosted roughly 70,000 guests for the two-day event, with some coming from as far as mainland Japan.

“There’s plenty of people who live outside the gate of Kadena and they don’t really know what we do,” Eaglin said. “We want to welcome them in and show them we’re here to protect them, and reassure them that we’re here for the security of Japan.

“We want to invite them in and welcome them. That’s the purpose of the event.”