Bi-lateral Sports Competition Strengthens U.S., Japan Friendship
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka personnel hosted an annual Sports Day event that pitted several Japanese and American naval logistics commands against one another in friendly competition at Berkey field on Yokosuka Naval Base, Oct. 3.
"The friendship that FLCY has with our counterparts within the Kaijo-Jetai (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force) is very strong and I know it means a great deal to join together in these sporting events to not only strengthen our camaraderie but simply have a good time," said Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka commanding officer.
The day's competitions began with relay races and continued with softball, soccer and basketball matchups culminating in a final all out tug-of-war contest with all teams putting their strength to the test.
As NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka was reigning champion from the previous year, it was important for the Japanese team to do well, said Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Rear Adm. Koji Oshima, Maritime Material Command (MMC) vice commander.
Oshima stated, "we have strived for one year in order to avenge last year's loss and humiliation we felt."
The comment drew much laughter as intended from the crowd that was more interested in building cross-cultural friendships than becoming champions but coming home victorious, with trophy in-hand, wouldn't be too shabby either.
"It is important that we compete together, work hard, encourage each other, and deepen our friendship in person through activities like this," said Oshima. "I would like to continue valuable events like this for the future."
Participants took a break midway through competition to enjoy a barbecue lunch shared by the Americans, to include ribs and all the fixings, while their Japanese partners shared traditional bento or lunch boxes filled with fish, rice, fried shrimp, and local vegetables.
The Americans took home first place in several events to include basketball and tug of war, but a new overall champion took the trophy home, giving the host nation team the victory and a great feeling of accomplishment after their year of dedicated training and countless practices.
Despite some language barriers, participants found common ground on the diamond, court, and pitch as both the U.S. and Japanese teams gained a better understanding of one another.
After the Sports Day was complete it was back to work for the logistics Sailors whose job it is to provide around-the-clock logistics solutions for its fleet customers.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command. Headquartered off Truman Bay, just 26 miles (41 kilometers) due south of Tokyo, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka enterprise operates from more than 20 locations from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam. Together, these provide logistics support to the Navy, Marine Corps, other Department of Defense (DoD) and federal activities within the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsup/.