By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kevin V. Cunningham, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Japan
SHIMODA, Japan – Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) participated in a goodwill cultural exchange at the Inasho Elementary School and Inozawa Elementary School in Shimoda May 16 as part of a port visit to join the city in celebrating the 75th annual Black Ship Festival.
“Having this opportunity to meet with the local school kids is really special for me,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Brandon Bromley. “They have been preparing for this all year and it means a lot to them to meet American Sailors. At the end of the day, these kids will remember the Navy in a good light because of us, and I’m happy to be a part of that memory.”
Mustin Sailors were greeted by staff and students at the school where they took part in classroom games and activities followed by a school lunch with the students.
“Reaching out to the local community is what this whole festival is all about,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Joseph R. Hockman. “I’m glad we were able to make it out to a place that doesn’t get to interact with Americans very often.”
John S. McCain Sailors introduced themselves to the staff and students in the school’s gymnasium, then played a traditional game of Japanese rock, paper, scissors before moving on to individual classrooms for Origami.
“Our visit to Inozawa Elementary school has been a great day,” said Chief Personnel Specialist Dan Mason. “This was the first time our Sailors have played that type of rock, paper scissors and it was a lot of fun. The staff and students have welcomed us with open arms. I’ve learned that Shimoda and this school are very embracing of the U.S. culture, and fun and happiness have no language barrier.”
Mustin and John S. McCain are two of seven Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, to support security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.