By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
(YOKOSUKA, Japan) – Yokosuka Ship Repair Facility and Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) bid farewell to five retiring Master Labor Contract (MLC) employees during a Retirement Ceremony held at SRF Production Conference Room, Dec. 23, 2015.
SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer Capt. Garrett Farman and retiring employees’ family members, department heads, division heads, group masters, shop heads and coworkers celebrated the event showing appreciation for the retirees’ long-term dedication to SRF.
“I am very proud to represent the U.S. Navy and SRF-JRMC in commending you for your many years of dedicated and productive service,” said Farman. “Your hard work and dedication significantly contributed to the peace, prosperity and security of not only Japan and the United States, but the entire Asia-Pacific region.”
Farman added the retirees have helped SRF-JRMC to excel, build, and maintain the organization’s fine reputation. He also highlighted each retiree’s accomplishments and work history.
“I feel privileged to have been able to work for 37 years in an environment where American and Japanese work together in rapport and with great respect for each other,” said Chief Quarterman and Former Sheetmetal Shop Head Kazuhiro Usui, looking back on his experience at SRF. “There wasn’t a day at work that was too burdensome.”
Usui started working at SRF as a metal worker in 1978. Since then, he put great effort to develop his expertise and was later promoted to ship repair planner of the shop in 1987. Four years later, he moved up to become shop head and led the shop toward excellence.
Another retiree, Pipefitter, Foreman C Shinichi Sugano, joined the Pipe Shop as an Apprentice Pipe Fitter in 1981. He worked at SRF for almost 35 years and advanced to Foreman C in 2006.
Engineering Technician Yukikazu Ishii was also honored at the ceremony. He started his journey as an Electrician in Electric Shop about 37 years ago. His duty included training in San Diego for maintenance jobs on several different telephone switchboards. Building on this experience, he maintained and fixed telephones on vessels other than Yokosuka homeported ships. As a collateral duty, he and his group, for 30 years, coordinated the audio and sound systems for the command’s two annual events: the New Year Ceremony and the Summer Bon Dance Festival.
Retired Engineering Technician Hiroshi Ishikawa also joined SRF-JRMC as a Shop Mechanic of Machine Shop.
“I can’t express my feelings about the time I have worked here,” said Ishikawa, speaking of his memories at SRF. “I just would like to thank you, the United States of America!”
After transferring to the Quality Assurance Office in 1993, Ishikawa made enormous success in the field of engineering. From 1995, he made substantial contribution as an Inspector of Quality Assurance for painting and testing of weight-handling equipment.
Retired Supervisory Industrial Specialist and Production Support Branch Head Yuuji Tamai utilized his prior experience as Production Officer in Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). At SRF-JRMC, he coordinated contracts for industrial plant equipment.
“My job was to find out the shops’ requirements, analyze and document them, and close contracts with the vendors,” he said. “Overseeing all the procedure was very satisfying.”
“Each of you has served skillfully and faithfully for many years,” said Farman. “On behalf of the United States Navy, I am honored to thank you for your dedicated service to the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and the U.S. Seventh Fleet. I wish each of you a long, happy, and healthful future! We will miss you all!”
After the ceremony, the retirees and their family members and coworkers boarded a shuttle bus to traveled to the shops and around the Naval base facility one last time to anchor their SRF memories in their hearts. At the shops, coworkers threw colorful paper streamers toward the bus to celebrate and bid their last farewells.
SRF-JRMC is a unique cultural environment where two nations interact and cooperate with each other in support of Forward-Deployed Naval ships in the Pacific. Japanese and U.S cultures make a harmonious and productive workforce for ship repair. The command’s motto is “Nandemo dekimasu,” which in English means “We can do anything.”