SAPPORO, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors stationed at U.S. Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa and its tenant commands began work on a snow sculpture as part of the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan Jan. 29.
The team will build a replica of the Navy's oldest commissioned ship: USS Constitution, marking the 32nd anniversary of Misawa Sailors participating in the festival, which draws about two million spectators each year.
In recent years, Misawa Sailors have sculpted replicas of "The Lone Sailor," USS George Washington (CVN 73), and the famous U.S. Navy Seabee logo: "The Fighting Bee."
"I think it's time to take on a design that's a little more challenging than what we would normally do, but as challenging as it is, it's a great opportunity to put a true treasure of American naval history like USS Constitution in the spotlight," said Chief Builder Billy Harger, a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, and this year's team leader for his second year running. "This design had been brought up in the past but had always been voted against due to its intricate design."
The team has seven days to build the sculpture in time for the festival's kick off, Feb. 5. The fact that none of the team members have any previous snow sculpture experience adds to this year's challenge but the team accomplished as much on their first day as many of the other teams made up of experienced snow sculptors from Sapporo who participate in the festival annually.
While in Sapporo, the team will once again be hosted by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) members at Camp Sapporo. NAF Misawa and Camp Sapporo have an ongoing relationship that has grown even closer in recent years, with both commands hosting bilateral events for the other.
Along with Harger, this year's all-Navy snow sculpting team is also comprised of Mineman 3rd Class Brandon Askins, from Navy Munitions Command East Asia Division Unit Misawa, who hails from Burkburnette, Texas; Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jawana Grant, from Naval Security Forces Misawa, who hails from Georgetown, South Carolina; Operations Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Hershiser, from Commander, Task Force Seventy-Two, who comes from Columbus, Ohio; Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Anthony Moscarella, from Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Misawa, and a native of Long Island, New York; Builder 3rd Class Nickolas Picard, from Public Works Department Misawa, who comes from Boyd County, Kentucky.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Ashley Verones, from NAF Misawa, originally from Westminster, Maryland.; and Aerographer's Mate 1st Class Steven Zosso, from Naval Oceanographic Anti-Submarine Warfare Detachment Misawa, who originally hails from Boise, Idaho.
To follow the progress of the 2015 All-Navy Sapporo Snow Scultping Team, please follow the Naval Air Facility Misawa Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nafmisawa.
For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, visit www.navy.mil/local/nafmisawa/.