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    Camp Zama Red Cross Club youth volunteers meet fellow American teens, showcase installation

    Camp Zama Red Cross Club youth volunteers meet fellow American teens, showcase installation

    Photo By Noriko Kudo | Staff Sgt. Joshua McKerley, left, assigned to U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan,...... read more read more



    Story by Noriko Kudo 

    U.S. Army Garrison - Japan

    CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Four students and chaperones visiting from Smyrna, Tennessee, were here July 20, during which youth volunteers from Camp Zama’s Red Cross Club led them on a tour of the installation.

    Smyrna has been the sister city of Zama City, in which Camp Zama partially resides, since 1991, and the two cities regularly conduct an alternating student exchange program. This year the Smyrna students, ages 14 to 19, are staying with host families in Zama for two weeks.

    Joining the group for the tour were various officials from Zama City.

    Maribel Sikes, 15, president of the recently formed Camp Zama Red Cross Club, said she and the other members extensively discussed and planned the tour itinerary, and were very eager to showcase their installation to the visiting group.

    The tour included a K-9 demonstration from the 88th and 901st Military Police Detachments, an up-close look at military vehicles and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion and U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan, respectively, a tour of Dewey Park and Emperor Hirohito’s bunker, and lunch at the Zama Bowling Center.

    “We had a lot of fun showing off our wonderful base,” Sikes said. “I really appreciated the opportunity to show the visitors our amazing base.”

    Sikes said she wants visitors like the Smyrna group and others to know that U.S. Soldiers and military families can form a close-knit community even when they live overseas. She added that she hopes the group left with a wonderful impression of Camp Zama and of the Soldiers, family members and the people who live and work here.

    “I am blessed to live on Camp Zama and enjoy showing it to others,” she said.

    Staff Sgt. Joshua McKerley, assigned to USAABJ, showed the Black Hawk to the group. At the end of the tour, he told them about his experiences in the military, saying the Army has given him more than he could have imagined, including an overseas assignment in a place he never thought he’d live in his life.

    “It’s a great experience for these teens to get to visit the other side of the world like this,” McKerley said. “I gave them the advice to [not be afraid to] step out of their comfort zone, because the return on that will be more than they can imagine.”

    Cyrus Joyner, 17, from Smyrna, said this was his first time to visit an Army installation and that it was interesting to see a U.S. installation in the middle of Japan where American Soldiers, civilians and family members live and work just like back home.

    “It was kind of nice to see the helicopters and all the different buildings [on the installation],” Joyner said. “They have everything that’s outside, but contained in one place, which is nice.”

    Joyner said he admired the thoughtfulness and dedication of the Red Cross volunteers to their community and hopes he can one day give back to his community as well.

    “I aspire to be an aerospace engineer, and hopefully I can build something that will help my community grow economically and technologically,” he said.

    Joyner gave a glowing review of his time in Japan thus far.

    “At this point, my experience [here] has been crazy, great, amazing,” he said. “It’s something that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anybody.”


    Date Taken: 07.24.2023
    Date Posted: 07.23.2023 21:23
    Story ID: 449823
    Location: ZAMA, KANAGAWA, JP

    Web Views: 49
    Downloads: 0