News: Advanced course students beautify Okinawa by cleaning Araha Beach
Story by Sgt. Brandon Saunders
OKINAWA, Japan - More than 30 Marines from the Okinawa Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy’s Advanced Course, class 4-11, volunteered to clean up trash and debris on Araha Beach, Okinawa, May 20.
The clean up is one of many community relations projects designed to involve Department of Defense personnel and their families in the local community and help keep the island clean.
Spearheaded by Ms. Hiroko Tomimura, the Camp Foster Community Relations representative, students from the course collected more than 100 bags of trash and miscellaneous debris from the shores of the beach.
Cleanups are important. We need to protect the important resources in Okinawa, said Tomimura.
Students from the SNCOA have been known for displays of selflessness such as these clean ups at least once each quarter, said Gunnery Sgt. David A. Luna, class first sergeant and assistant operations chief of 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF.
Due to the tide being low, the Marines were able to extend their clean up efforts at distances reaching 200 meters beyond the shore line. After collecting as much trash as they could, the Marines also sorted combustible products from recyclable plastics and glass.
“It is crucial that we give back to the island of Okinawa so we show the people here that we’re appreciative of our Corps being able to operate here,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ronald E. Current Jr., a student in the class and the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of terrestrial platoon, 7th Communication Battalion, III MHG.
The gunnery sergeants displayed their enthusiasm for the project by dividing up into teams, and even competing with one another to see who could collect the most trash.
“Over the past few years in Okinawa, I haven’t been able to really give back to the community,” said Gunnery Sgt. Djon T. Johnson, a student in the course and the operations chief of Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. “Now that I do have the opportunity, I feel it’s duly important to set the example for junior Marines.”