MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Tsuta Children’s Home children were welcomed aboard station July 14 by Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter Marines and their families for a day of fun and enjoyment.
“We are a proud sponsor of the Tsuta Children’s Home and we try to do at least two, maybe three events with them every year,” said Master Sgt. Joseph P. Beall, ARFF staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “This has been going on for more than 30 years.”
ARFF Marines started the day by bringing the children and their chaperones to the IronWorks Gym pool to play games and swim. Afterwards, the Marines and Japanese traveled to the ARFF fire station for more fun activities.
“This is definitely a good thing for the Marines and for the kids,” said Beall. “The Marines have a good time with the kids and our children have a good time playing with our guests. It’s just a great event to get hang out with people from in town.”
Children played in the massive bouncy house, ate the food cooked by the Marines, and played soccer, “cornhole” and tug-of-war. Smiles lit up everyone’s face, Japanese and station resident, throughout the entire day.
“Every kid in the world loves to get some kind of attention, even between the Japanese kids and Americans,” said Beall. “The language barrier can be a tough thing, but just to be able to see a kid smile, that’s universal.”
After a water-balloon game followed by a free-for-all waterballoon fight which left the participants soaked yet smiling and laughing, the ARFF Marines and local Girl Scouts brought out gifts, home supplies and other living essentials they donated to the children’s home.
“We worked hard selling food, shirts and coins in our booth during Friendship Day and this is our reward,” said Beall. “It’s good to show we’re not just stuck here on the other side of the air station, but we want to reach out and help the community.”
After Marines helped load up the children’s bus with the supplies, people said their last goodbyes, some even taking group photos to remember the day.
As the bus pulled away, Japanese children waved as Marines and their families waved back, hoping they would meet again soon.