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NEWS | March 28, 2014

Japanese reporter visits Air National Guard units to tell their stories back home

By 2nd Lt. Stacy Gault 167th Airlift Wing

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Japanese aviation reporter Susumu Tokunaga visited the 167th Airlift Wing March 21 to observe the operations for a series of articles highlighting the Air National Guard in Japan's oldest aviation publication, Aireview Magazine.

"The Air National Guard has less visibility in Japan and the people cannot understand how the Air National Guard is organized and operated," said Tokunaga, who stepped inside a C-5 Galaxy for the first time during his visit.

Aireview magazine was first published in 1951 and has a circulation of 25,000 readers. He said it's important to explain the Air National Guard because it's very different from how Japan's military is structured.

Fire chief Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Gengler spent time showing Tokunaga the various equipment of the 167th Airlift Wing Fire Department and explained how they also serve the community.

"I thought he was genuinely interested in our role as Citizen-Airmen," Gengler said. "He seemed impressed how the wing provides fire protection support to the local community."

In addition to touring the aircraft, Tokunaga also observed the regional isochronal (ISO) inspection hangar and the control tower.

Martinsburg, W.Va., was the last stop on his first of three visits to the United States. In addition to the 167th, Tokunaga also spent time at the 105th Airlift Wing, Newburgh, N.Y., 106th Rescue Wing, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., 109th Airlift Wing, Schenectady, N.Y., and the 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington, Vt., before returning to Tokyo.

"The 167th Airlift Wing has a great heritage and our Airmen are proud to tell their story," said Col. David Cochran, vice wing commander.

Cochran added: "It was a unique privilege for us to be visited by Mr. Tokunaga, as he begins his tour of ANG bases in preparation to tell the Air Guard's story to the people of Japan and around the world."