By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Eric Wardell
YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 2, 2014) – The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted the first Japanese Major League Baseball (MLB) player for a ship tour, March 30.
Masanori “Mashi” Murakami, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants from 1964 to 1966, visited George Washington to gain a better understanding of its strategic mission in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.
“I enjoyed the ship very much,” said Murakami. “Being on the bridge was my favorite part of the tour; I was really taken back by the view.”
Murakami said he was impressed by the magnitude of the ship and that touring the 1,092 foot vessel was an adventure.
“I have only been on one other aircraft carrier,” said Murakami. “But that was a museum in New York Harbor. Boarding an active aircraft carrier is special.”
In 2004, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded Murakami the Foreign Minister’s Certificate of Commendation to commemorate the cultural exchange due to his involvement in MLB, and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan relationship.
“Japan and the U.S. are strong allies; they are like brothers,” said Murakami. “Japan is protected because of the American presence. I greatly appreciate all of the efforts made by U.S. Sailors for the people of Japan.”