Aug. 16, 2010
The Air Force Academy often provides its cadets with unique summer experiences--for women's basketball player Jamela Satterfield, the summer of 2010 brought a trip to Japan. Satterfield, a junior civil engineering major, spent two weeks at Kadena AB along with 20 of her classmates. Here, Satterfield reflects on her experience in Japan:
This summer, I got the chance to go to Japan for Civil Engineering (my major). We were there to see what civil engineers do in the "real" Air Force. We stayed in the visiting officer's quarters at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Everything was paid for, and we even got paid to go there!
On weekdays, we would wake up in the morning and go to the CE squadron for our daily lesson. Most of the time, they showed us what they did, then let us work with them for the day. We got a lot of hands-on training, and it was really fun working with all of the enlisted people there.
Around 1:00 p.m. every day, we were free to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the night. Some of the CE officers would meet up with us and show us around, while sometimes we would just get a map and explore the island on our own. Weekends were free for us to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We usually caught the bus, rode bikes, or walked to get around the island.
Shuri Castle - This was a castle on top of a jill that the U.S. destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa. We visited the restored castle while we were there.
Beaches - We went to the beach at least every other day. We swam, snorkeled, SCUBA dived, tanned, played volleyball, ate and just hung out at the beaches and marinas all day. Torii Beach was my favorite beach in Okinawa, on an Army base a few miles away from Kadena. We took the bus there and spent the day at the beach. There was a huge water slide and a water park there, and we got free food from people who were there barbecuing. One day, we decided to rent bikes and ride to Mida Point, another beach area.
Red Horse/Prime Rib - We visited the Red Horse squadron at Kadena and got to run through exercises and training with them. Prime Rib was another civil engineering squadron we worked with during our visit in Japan.
American Village - This was an area a few blocks away from Kadena AB. It was basically a shopping center with lots of Japanese and American restaurants, and a beach at the end of the street.
Kokusai Street - This street was another one that we visited in Japan, but everything was Okinawan. There were plenty of restaurants and gift shops on this street. It was a really busy place, like a downtown area in America.
Food - All of the food in Japan was really different--even the McDonald's there had different stuff than a McDonald's here would have. I tried lots of different foods, even though I didn't know the names of half the things I ate. I even tried sushi, which I didn't like until I went to Japan. My favorite food there was the Black Vinegar Chicken. All of the food there was served in large quantities, but it was really cheap for the amount of food we got.