Rain does little to dampen base community spirit of friendship
Story and photo by Greg Mitchell ,FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
Fighting off heavy wind and rain storms, Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka opened its gates to host nation families and friends to start its 21st annual Spring Festival, March 30.
Held in conjunction with the city of Yokosuka, the Spring Festival signals the beginning of the change of season, as well as welcoming in the blooming of cherry blossoms. Japanese from all over the nation come to see the base up close and personal and to receive a sample of American hospitality and culture.
Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Capt. David T. Glenister, and Yokosuka Mayor Yuto Yoshida both were present to welcome guests to the base.
Service members felt that open base events gave them the chance to mingle with Japanese citizens in a comfortable setting.
“It’s a great opportunity to interact with the local community and have fun,” said Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Letino Sullivan, who attended in support of the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Yokosuka First Class Petty Officers Association. “Even though it’s a little rainy, there are still people out so we are going to stay here and support the activity to the end.”
Cryptologic Technicians Collections 1st Class Christopher Gile, also of the NIOC Yokosuka First Class Petty Officers Association, agreed with Sullivan on the importance of the open base activity.
“This event as much as any other is such a strong part of the base,” said Gile. “It’s not only having our association a part of what the base is doing but, seeing everybody that’s coming out – it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not, the Japanese are always going to come and they always interact and have fun with us so, it’s just always such a good and memorable experience to come out here.”
Venues were set up along Clement Blvd, adjacent to Kosano Park, providing food and entertainment, with the intention of providing a family-friendly atmosphere.
In one of the main attractions for the event, the Yokosuka Seahawks got a taste of the level of competition they will encounter during the regular season. They managed a hard fought 12-7 victory over the Japan American Football X-League team, Tokyo Hurricanes.
“This is actually my third time coming to the base for Spring Festival,” said Koji Ono. “I like the fact that I am able to taste American food and meet with them as well. I am also here as an American football fan so, even though the weather is bad, I am still glad that I had the opportunity to see the game.”
Due to the weather, the base closed down events earlier than normal. Spring Festival is held annually in March and is the start of FLEACT, Yokosuka’s U.S.-Japan outreach