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    CFAY Sailors Participate in the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery Cleanup

    Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery Cleanup

    Photo By Seaman Darren Cordoviz | YOKOHAMA, Japan (June 8, 2022) Volunteers of a cleanup event at the Yokohama Foreign...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Darren Cordoviz 

    Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka

    YOKOHAMA, Japan (June 8, 2022) - On a cloudy spring day in Yokohama, Japan, a group of Sailors murmured as they gathered their tools. Sheers, weed eaters and rakes were passed out as Sailors gazed upon a seemingly endless sea of tombstones and the overgrown shrubbery that surrounded them.

    Sailors from various departments throughout Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) were gathered to assist in the upkeep of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery–an event organized by CFAY’s Ikego Detachment.

    Established in 1854, the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery serves as the final resting place for many service members who have died while serving overseas. Twenty-four Sailors from various departments throughout CFAY volunteered and traveled to Yokohama to tidy up the graves of fallen American veterans.

    “They may have fallen, but their efforts will not be forgotten,” says Master-at-Arms First Class Constance Nevans. “We are here to honor the graves of those that have served before us.”

    Before the cleanup, volunteers from CFAY were briefed about the rich historical significance and heritage of the cemetery. In 1853, a diplomatic expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay as ordered by the U.S. President Millard Fillmore. Their mission was to re-establish regular trade and discourse between Japan and the United States. During their second voyage to Japan in 1854, a young Marine named Robert Williams died of illness. At his request, the Shogunate provided land to the Commodore for those that had fallen. The land would serve as a burial spot overlooking the sea, under Article 3 of the U.S.-Japan Peace and Amity Treaty. Eventually, the site expanded further into what is now known as the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery.

    The volunteers toured memorials, graves and museums within the vicinity. “It gives our Sailors a great opportunity to reconnect with our history and naval heritage,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Michael Moreno, currently assigned to the CFAY Brig. Damage Controlman 2nd Class Reijared Dizon added, “It’s a great event to show face as good ambassadors to Japan and build camaraderie with Sailors from different departments.”

    Equipped with rakes, cutters and various power tools, the Sailors proceeded to remove the excess growth of plants and shrubs overlaying the graves and tombstones. They were assigned to groups and focused on cleaning the USS Oneida Memorial, which was built in memory of the 125 sailors who lost their lives when the ship collided with the British steamship Bombay in Yokohama in 1889. They also focused on the World War I Memorial which contains the graves of over 100 U.S. service members and allies who fell during the war.

    “I believe it is important to recognize their sacrifices and honor their efforts,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Jessica Harlan. “It may seem simple, but this event allows us to memorialize what they’ve done and show our deep appreciation.”

    Today, the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery accommodates more than 5,000 graves and tombs of foreigners and service members from 40 different countries. Twice every year, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) organizes a cleanup event for the upkeep of the cemetery.

    For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.



    Date Taken: 06.13.2022
    Date Posted: 06.13.2022 21:11
    Story ID: 422865

    Web Views: 119
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