Iwakuni: Hitting home runs in comradery
Two flags wave on the practice field of Kizuna Stadium, one for the “Home of the Brave” and one for the “Land of the Rising Sun.”
Gusts of dust cover the Terminal Roughnecks, the Rednecks and Iwakuni City’s local baseball team, Sun Land, with each pitch thrown during their goodwill softball game at Iwakuni City, Japan, Nov. 5, 2017.
The game, which was the first to be played at the new Kizuna Stadium, allowed Marines and Master Labor Contractors with Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Air Terminal Operations Center and Japanese locals to build comradery by playing a goodwill softball game.
“We came out here with our Japanese nationals from work and a local baseball team to play some softball,” said U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Matthew England, a passenger service agent with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “We’re barbequing, having some fun and mingling with the nationals.”
England said his favorite part about the event was the comradery between the Japanese and Americans.
“We go from being at work, being serious and making sure the mission gets done,” said England. “Then we come out here, let loose a little bit and let go of some stress.”
Several games were played between the Japanese and the Marines, some were lost and some were won, but good sportsmanship was shown throughout each game. It also helped build a stronger union between America and Japan.
“It builds a good trust and a good bond,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Brandon Winn, the air transport division staff noncommissioned officer. “It can only help our nations more so in the future.”
Winn also said he encourages events like this, despite the language barrier, because they build comradery. He said everyone was there to have fun, and only good things can come from interactions like this.
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Esteban Arroyo, the air transportation division chief with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS), bats during a goodwill softball game at Iwakuni City, Japan, Nov. 5, 2017. The game is a shop event held to bring Marines and Japanese nationals that work at the air terminal on base together and build office comradery. They also played with the Iwakuni City Sun Land baseball team, helping strengthen the bond between America and Japan.