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A Moment in Time

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tyrone Thomas
  • 374th Airlift Wing

The 374th Airlift Wing and Japan Air Self-Defense Force Operations Support Wing leadership participated in a time capsule burial ceremony, July 29, 2021, to reflect on obstacles Yokota faced and overcame in the year 2020. 

The event provided an opportunity for Yokota and JASDF to look toward the future and continue accomplishing goals through their strong alliance between partnered nations.

“The capsule project’s planning began in early 2020, and the Olympic Salute Committee originally envisioned this time capsule as a way to commemorate Yokota’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Col. Andrew J. Campbell, 374th AW commander. “With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent need to postpone the Olympics, the time capsule has taken on a greater significance in commemorating 2020 through 2021.”

Yokota’s Olympic Salute Committee gathered items from 374th AW’s units as well as mission partners. The committee sought to provide a snapshot to future community members of life during COVID and the struggles of hosting the Olympics during a pandemic.  

The time capsule included items such as squadron patches, blank vaccinations cards, empty COVID-19 vaccination vials, as well as an engraved wrench, reading, “The wrench that COVID-19 threw in our plans.”

“The wrench was one of the more notable items added to the time capsule,” said Leslie Jones, 374th AW historian. “It doubles as a representation for the classic phrase about misfortune and a symbol for our maintenance and engineer Airmen, which make up the heart of Yokota’s workforce.”

The 374th Civil Engineer Squadron covered and sealed the capsule with a plaque that reads, “To commemorate the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, held in 2021, the 374th AW placed a time capsule here 29 July 2021… The time capsule reopening shall coincide with the opening ceremony of the next Japan Summer Olympics.”

The time capsule presents an opportunity for future generations to open the time capsule and view the past reverence and a willingness to learn a little bit about what life was like during this tumultuous time.