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    USO awards JSDF, US service members for commitment to community

    USO awards JSDF, US service members for commitment to community

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Terence Brady | USO Okinawa Area Director, Robin Miller, left, pauses the 43rd annual USO Service...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Terence Brady 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    CAMP FOSTER, Japan - U.S. service members from all branches recognize volunteering as an important way to further strengthen the relationship between civilian communities and military members.

    The same holds true of the Japan Self-Defense Force. Three of its members joined four U.S. service members, one from each branch of service, as they were recognized for their selflessness in support of community service and outreach projects during the 43rd annual USO Service Salute at the Butler Officers' Club March 8 on Camp Foster.

    Throughout the year, senior enlisted leaders and officers worked with the USO to select service members deserving of recognition for their actions that improved community and military life, according to Robin Miller, the area director of USO Okinawa.

    "The USO is about bridging the gap between the military and the community," said Miller. "This event is about (celebrating) that effort. It is an opportunity to show our support to the service members."

    The honorees for the event included Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Sgt. Koji Tsumoto; Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tech. Sgt. Yasutaka Koya; Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Petty Officer 2nd Class Nobuhiko Hyakutake; U.S. Marine Cpl. Michael S. Williamson; U.S. Army Sgt. Wyatt L. Lutz; U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Rami M. Ghattas; and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian D. Ayers.

    The guests of honor were recognized for volunteer work, including beach and park cleanups, and donations to organizations sponsored through the Combined Federal Campaign.

    During the event, special guests spoke appreciatively of the honorees and USO volunteers.

    "I would like to congratulate the seven recipients (recognized) during this event," said JGSDF Maj. Gen. Shigeru Kobayashi, a special guest speaker and commanding general of the 15th Brigade, Western Army. "This is for your year-round dedication."

    For some of the honorees, helping the community is more than a meaningful gesture, according to Williamson, a field artillery radar operator with Headquarters Battery, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

    "It is natural to me," said Williamson. "I am a people person. Volunteering has a lot to do with people working as a team. You need other people. Everything is built as a team, as a collective unit, and I have taken that to heart."

    Developing an open mind and giving more to the community helps relations between Japan and the U.S. flourish, according to Alfred R. Magleby, the U.S. consul general, Naha.

    "I like how (the Japan-U.S. relationship) has developed throughout the years," said Magleby. "The positive mingling and synergy gives us so much more between the nations than it would if we worked on our own."

    The USO and senior leaders made it clear that volunteer efforts and selfless deeds for a community are recognized.

    "It is so surreal," said Williamson. "I am honored to be awarded at this event."



    Date Taken: 03.08.2014
    Date Posted: 03.17.2014 02:51
    Story ID: 122102
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