Saturday, July 16, 2011

Phillips - 5 in Japan Week 1 - Change of Command Week

WOW - what a whirlwind week this has been!  We kicked it off with the change of command ceremony on Monday morning at 0900.  The picture above is me assuming command and taking the squadron guidon from my new boss Colonel Griffin.  Behind us is the outgoing commander Greg Whitaker...he and his family truly gave us the best welcome we've ever received, and they left us a squadron that is in great shape and well prepared to complete their mission.

We have gotten to know quite a few people already, and it looks like we are going to have a really fun couple of years at Misawa.  The other Support Group Squadron Commanders are a pretty close knit group that we have already integrated with.  We hung out with all of them our first Friday in town and had a great time (i.e., closed down the bar).  The girls are loving life over here too...Megan compares it to living in 1950's America - no crime, you don't have to lock your doors, so the girls have A LOT more freedom than they have ever had.  In addition, there are lots of kids in the neighborhood close in age, so they are usually out and about until well after dark.

Thursday we received our household goods...and timing is everything.  There are lots of people that have been here since March and still don't have their stuff...including Jeff's new boss who shipped their stuff the same week we did.  So we have spent the last several days unpacking, and while the house is small, there is LOTS of storage and it looks like everything is going to fit.  The picture above is of our new house...we will post some of the inside once we get everything unpacked.

Jeff's first week as commander was also a lot of fun...he is thoroughly enjoying it.  He spent most of the week completing a squadron immersion and learning about all the different responsibilities the different shops have.  The highlight of the week was getting to inform two people that they were selected for promotion to Master Sergeant.  We brought their families in and surprised each of them, it was a great day for them and for the Air Force.  On Wednesday Jeff turned the big 4-0, and we celebrated at the softball fields with the 35th Comm Squadron (a.k.a. The COMM ROCKERS) bringing home the win 14-4.  The week finished with one of the Lieutenants in the squadron pinning on Captain, so we attended the ceremony then headed home to unpack more boxes.  The squadron has done a first class job of welcoming us into their family.  The pictures above are of the 35 CS Headquarters building where Jeff's office is and one of him standing next to the sign out front.

Saturday we ventured off base for a while...our second such excursion...last week we got lost for about an hour or so, but fortunately we found our way home.  This time we went to the Shimoda Shopping Mall about 10 miles or so from the base.  It actually was not too much different from any mall in America except that all the signs were in Japanese...go figure.  Some of the stores also ran together a little bit, so it was often difficult to figure out which store you were in.  The prices were also a little the pet store, Golden Retriever's were selling for 128,000 Yen, with today's exchange rate, that is roughly $1,760, so we passed on a new puppy...not that it was going to happen anyway.  We did find a theater in the mall that is showing Harry Potter in english, so Jeff is taking the girls back tomorrow to see that.  The first two pictures above are of the outside of the mall, the next is of the girls next to Colonel Sanders...yes they have KFC in Japan, and the last is of an interesting find in the 100 Yen store.  They sell bottles of compressed helium called "voice performance enhancer."  You can see from the pictures on the bottle exactly how to inhale the product.

Overall we had a great first week, and it went by WAY too fast.  This week the new Squadron deputy commander arrives, and we are going to try to give he and his family as good of a welcome as we received.  The last couple of pictures are of our new vehicles (it is great not having car payments).  Megan's Honda Odyssey is on the left, in great shape for a 1995 - only 21,000 miles.  Jeff's "COMM ROCKS van" is on the right...the van is a squadron icon and has been driven by the last four 35 CS commanders.

That is all for this week...Phillips - 5 out!

1 comment:

  1. Dude! Congrats - thanks for sending me the link - was wondering where you guys had gone off to. Wishing you all an awesome tour. I'm telling you, kids get the BEST field trips when you're stationed overseas. Hugs to you guys! V