• 68°
Hartselle Enquirer

Adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun

By Staff
Local man part of defense against North Korea's military
Andre Sanders, Special to the Enquirer
In a land rich with the history of the shogun, samurai and ninja, the son of a Hartselle couple finds himself in the middle of a complex standoff. But this American warrior is bringing much more than just a sword to deter North Korean aggression and keep an eye on China-Taiwan tensions.
Air Force Senior Airman Jason Saunders, son of Robert and Jesse Saunders of Hartselle, is a tactical aircraft maintenance specialist with the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota. The base serves as the primary U.S. military port in Japan, and also as a counter to North Korea and its burgeoning nuclear weapons program.
As the only airlift win in the Far East, it takes unique airmen like Saunders to work under such special circumstances and accomplish a mission deemed crucial to U.S. security.
"I work in the transient alert flight where I'm responsible for ensuring that all the aircraft that visit Yokota have everything they need to fly their next mission," Saunders said. "I get fuel for the aircraft and make any needed repairs or servicing they need to get on with their assigned flight."
Yokota, located 28 miles from Tokyo, lies hidden in rows of towering mountains and epic landscapes. Once a test group for the newest in aircraft technology for Japan's 1940s-era war machine, the base now serves as a center for promoting stability in the Far East and is home to American C-130E Hercules cargo aircraft, UH-1N Huey helicopters and C-21A Learjets.
And it also airmen like Saunders access to a cultural experience like no other.
"I'm having lots of fun in Japan," he said. "I attend a lot of cultural festivals and take trips that allow me to explore and experience the Japanese culture. The language barrier can be tough at times, but the Japanese people are nice and helpful, so I get by OK."
Saunders' time in Japan has been memorable. And even though he's 9,000 miles from home and inundated with various responsibilities, there's still time to think about life in the United States and his future.
"I'm having a great time in Japan and in the Air Force," he said. "The Air Force offers me many great opportunities for travel and education and I plan on making a long career out of serving my country."
While living in the Land of the Rising Sun presents Saunders a chance to experience the new sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of a unique culture, the airman's mission remains as advertised – defending America, its interests and its allies wherever the Air Force sends him.

Eva

Community class reunion celebrates Morgan schools

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hats off: Class of 2024 graduates from Hartselle High School

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

City adjusts garbage routes for Memorial Day

Falkville

Larry Madison has been a pillar in Falkville for four decades

Hartselle

Hartselle trio nominated for two K-LOVE awards

Hartselle

Hartselle students chosen to attend Girls State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Kiwanis Club continues scholarly legacy with annual golf tournament

Editor's picks

Heartbreaking finish: Hartselle comes up a run short in state baseball finals

Decatur

Fallen Morgan County officers remembered, families honored  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle drops Game 1 to Hillcrest, needs two wins for state title

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Despite title loss, Hartselle thankful for state experience 

Editor's picks

Hartselle baseball legend dies

Breaking News

Hartselle baseball legend William Booth dies at 79

At a Glance

ALDOT patching area of Thompson Road tomorrow, Thursday

At a Glance

Spring-time market day in Hartselle scheduled for May 18 

Hartselle

New Crestline Elementary School welcomes students

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle industry closing, affecting more than 150 jobs  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Habitat for Humanity applications for homeownership available June 3 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

State seeking death penalty for Fort Payne woman accused of pushing victim off cliff

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Pilot of ultralight dies in Hartselle plane crash

Editor's picks

Northern lights visible from north Alabama

Hartselle

Hartselle students to attend Boys State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

High scorers: 42 Hartselle students a part of ACT 30 plus club

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle projects budget surplus based on midyear numbers 

x