NAF Atsugi celebrates Navy’s 239th birthday
Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi’s Convention Center was a flurry of activity with the staff and Sailors running about decorating for the Navy Ball.
The theme of this year’s ball was “From Wind to Steam, Wood to Steel-Celebrating 239 years of Excellence.”
Navy Ball Committee Head Chief Master-at-Arms Daniel Brooks stated the theme was chosen long before the Navy announced an official standardized theme, and have spent the past eight months prepping for the night’s event.
Brooks said that the committee has been working on everything from fund raising, making the tickets and programs, to the historical displays seen at the ball.
The displays included manikins wearing older uniforms, the history of various navy rates, memorabilia and even World War II propaganda posters.
The evening rolled right into the celebration’s chain of events with the parading of the colors and the traditional roll call.
Between the silly chants, occasional taunts and even a siren blare from Branch Health Clinic Atsugi, the roll call ended with a lot of cheer.
“That was the best roll call I’ve ever heard at a Navy Ball,” said Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, the guest speaker of the night. “I need to train them up in Yokosuka to do something like that.”
Inside the convention center, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia added ambiance while people mingled and put together their plates from the international buffet tables.
Outside on the patio under the strung up lanterns, the guests sat and listened to the music that the DJ played through the evening’s ceremony.
“Our birthday allows us to look back at how our history has shaped us into the fighting force we are today,” said Kraft. “Throughout our 239 year history we’ve been where it matters, when it matters, as our ships have progressed from wind to steam, wood to steel and this year we actually celebrate 60 years of nuclear power propulsion on our warships.”
The ceremony drifted to a close with the presentation of the traditional toasts given by the special guests, and then the oldest and youngest Sailor in attendance were selected to cut the birthday cake alongside Kraft and NAF Atsugi Commanding Officer Capt. John Bushey.
“For more than two centuries we’ve manned the watch and we should be extremely proud of our success on the sea, above the sea and below it,” said Kraft.