Story by Staff Sgt. Andre E. Russo, 10th Missile Defense Battery

Members of the 10th Missile Defense Battery known as the "Samurai Battery," and stationed at the Shariki Communications Site participated in the Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa Festival the first week of August.

The Soldiers of the 10th MBD are no strangers in their involvement with the local community. The Samurai Battery is viewed as valuable members of the community, which has proven to be vital to the success of their mission in Japan.

When the opportunity presented itself to participate in the Goshogawara City Tachi-Neputa Festival, the Samuria Battery was ready. The Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa Festival is a summer festival held annually between 4 and 8 August and it is considered one of the largest festivals of the Tsugaru region.

Massive 75 feet tall parade floats known as Tachineputa captivated spectators' attention along with the smaller floats, drum floats, dancers, and entertainment during the festival.

This year a joint military effort took place during the festival. Soldiers from the Samurai Battery along with Sailors from Misawa Air Base pushed and pulled one of the three massive Tachineputa lantern floats.

"It was an amazingly fun experience that I never thought I would be able to do anywhere else, it was truly unique," said Spc. Dan Q. Nguyen with 10th Missile Defense Battery. "The community is welcoming and I am privileged to be part of this event and experience the opportunity," he added.

The Tachineputa are paraded through the city streets while dancers excitedly shout "Yattemare! Yattemare!" which translated "Go and get 'em!"

For Pfc. Michael Gress, a Patriot fire control enhanced operator and maintainer with the Samurai Battery, this year's festival served as first experience participation in one his duty station local community event.
"I had a great time participating in the festival and interacting with the community, being stationed here is giving me the chance to fully appreciate the beautiful culture the country of Japan has to offer," said Gress.

While the Soldiers of the Samurai Battery partake in numerous community relation events throughout the year, they are always looking forward to the next opportunity to help sustain morale and build stronger relations.

"I am looking forward to continue to build on the great relationships the 10th Missile Defense Battery has done with the local community," said Gress. "The community has been welcoming and I am privileged to be here and looking towards next year's Tachi-Neputa Festival."