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Navy band plays in Miyako; renewed protest on aircraft

Date Posted: 2010-12-16

A goodwill concert by the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet Band went off without a hitch in Miyakojima Sunday after being delayed some three months by a typhoon and by anti-military protests, but the appearance was marred by renewed protests over American military planes landing at the local airport.

Local labor unions and other groups protested the plans for using a military aircraft to transport the band, its instruments and equipment to Miyakojima, but that didn’t stop the Navy C-9 cargo aircraft from landing Saturday with the band aboard. The concert at Miyakojima City’s Mahida Citizens Theater was well received, with citizen groups holding a banner welcoming the Navy Band.

It got ugly Monday as the C-9 returned to Miyakojima to pick up the band for the return flight to Atsugi in mainland Japan. As the plane was landing, smoke poured from a tire on the left side of the plane, leading Jeff Davis, the leader of the band, to announce that a “tire on the plane’s left side seemed to have locked and became damaged.” The aircraft was forced to remain at the airport until the evening, when the Navy flew in repair parts.

The Miyako Airport Administration Office says there was no damage to the runway in the incident, and that commercial air service continued without disruption.

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