NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan (NNS) -- Eight Atsugi area residents were selected from more than 300 entrants for a chance to tour Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi and its tenant commands, Feb. 12.
The tour was hosted by NAF Atsugi's Host Nation Relations Office (HNRO) as way of allowing followers of the base's official Japanese language Twitter account to experience the base.
"This tour is important because it shows the local citizens something they don't regularly get to see," said Sumie Maruyama, a HNRO representative. "It allows them to better understand the mission and effort of NAF Atsugi."
For some of the guests, it was their first time ever visiting NAF Atsugi or being on a military installation.
"I've been very excited to see the base," said Yukio Sekido, from Zama, Kanagawa. "On this base you can see the different aircraft here."
During the visit, the guests had a walking tour of the installation's Alliance Park where static displays of aircraft from various squadrons throughout the base's history can be seen. Next, HNRO delivered a brief on the history of the base and guests were treated to a Japanese tea ceremony performed by NAF Atsugi's Chado Tea Club followed by lunch at the Navy Exchange food court.
"Alliance Park is a good example for visitors to see America and Japan's mutual friendship and cooperation," said Maruyama.
After lunch, the guests visited with Sailors from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51. Guests were given a tour of the squadron's hangar and allowed to see the inside of an MH-60R Seahawk.
"I always enjoy seeing the enthusiasm for naval aviation from the guests," said Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 3rd Class Eric Williams, from Holmdel, New Jersey. "It's always a great experience to show others our culture and provide insight into what we do here at HSM-51."
Lastly, guests were given a windshield tour of the installation's flight line, getting a chance to see NAF Atsugi's flight operations up close before leaving the base with more insight into the daily operations and lives of the base and its Sailors.
For more news from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/atsugi/.