Yokosuka DeNA BayStars holds hail, farewell ceremony for FLEACT Yokosuka commander
Commander, Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka, Capt. David A. Owen, recently received VIP and royal treatment prior to the start of a Yokohama DeNA BayStars vs. Yomiuri Giants minor league baseball game held at Yokosuka stadium, July 3.
Owen, who is a long-time BayStars fan, was presented a BayStars uniform by BayStars Minor League Coach Daisuke Yamashita with the number 48.
“The fact that they gave me a jersey with number 48 on it is very special; 48 is the hull number of the ship I commanded, the USS Ashland (LSD 48),” said Owen who commanded Ashland from August 2005 to February 2007.
Prior to the opening pitch, Owen was afforded time to address the crowd in attendance.
“Thank you all for having me here again tonight,” said Owen. “Over the last three years, three seasons, coming to Yokosuka to watch the Yokohama DeNA BayStars has become a near and very dear thing in my heart.
After addressing the crowd, Owen proceeded to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to his personally selected batter in outfielder Tomo Otosaka, a two-year player whose father currently works at Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Facility on board FLEACT, Yokosuka.
“My childhood dream was to become a professional baseball player, but that did not happen,” said Owen. “So every time I have the chance to come to a ballpark, it is really special to me.”
Owen has been to both Yokohama Stadium and Yokosuka Stadium more than 20 times to attend BayStars games since he assumed command as the commanding officer of FLEACT, Yokosuka in June 2010.
Owen considers himself to be a self-anointed number-one BayStars fan among service members in the Yokosuka area However, in August, Owen will transfer to his next duty station as President, Board of Inspection and Survey, headquartered at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia.
Still, Owen will retain many fond memories of his time here in Japan.
“I got to do things here in Japan that I never got to do in the United States; come down to ball fields, do ceremonial things, meet professional ball players, some of them [Japan Pro League] legends, and I will never ever forget this.”
Owen plans to attend as many games as he can in an unofficial capacity all the way until he departs the country. He has considered returning to Japan to visit in the future and Yokosuka Stadium is on his list of must-see places.
“My assignment is coming to an end and I will be returning to the United States in August, but I am going to try to get back here as many times as I can, said Owen. “I can’t truly express how I really feel right now,” said Owen. “I will never forget the many memories I’ve had with the Bay Stars when I return to the United States.”