Six sailors from five Naval Air Facility Misawa commands are the representatives of the United States Navy at the 64th Annual Sapporo Snow Festival. They had five days to finish a Navy-themed snow sculpture in time for the festival, which begins today in on the northern island of Hokkaido. As it is a special occasion, with the base celebrating its 30th anniversary joining the festivities, they have chosen a very ambitious design—a replica of the Yokosuka-based USS George Washington’s forecastle.
Misawa snow team leader Chief Petty Officer Christopher “Billy” Knox said that they had to overcome obstacles to finish their sculpture. “Task Force Snowflake,” as the team is called, worked on the 6-by-6-foot block of snow starting Wednesday last week and had progressed quickly. But, when they came back on Saturday, the team was devastated to see their masterpiece turned into slush by rain, followed by an unusually warm weather. But, of course, they soldiered on. They had to work late into Saturday night to salvage their snow ship, and when they felt that they could finish up before Sunday’s deadline, they agreed to call it a night. As if fate was teasing them, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake centered in southeast Hokkaido rocked their barracks. Thankfully, the sculpture was intact when they returned the next day.
Three-year snow team leader Knox, who is leaving the station in July, said that this was really important for him. “Out of three times, this is definitely the best one,” he said. “This being the 30th year of NAF Misawa building a sculpture, we really want to give this city something to remember and to do right by the crew of a proud war ship.”[via Stars & Stripes]