By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 23, 2016) – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) said goodbye to seven retiring Japanese employees and honored their service with a farewell ceremony at the command’s headquarters building.
Together, the retirees contributed nearly 245 years and seven months of service to the U.S. Navy and Japan.
“You have enabled SRF-JRMC to excel, and you have elevated our fine reputation.” said Capt. Garrett Farman, SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer, in his celebratory speech.
The command’s leadership, retirees’ coworkers and family members attended and took part in the ceremony.
Kazuya Sato, one of the retirees, began his career in 1985 as a planner for the command’s boiler and pipe section. He retired as a chief planner and production control engineer in the engineering and planning department.
“Everyone’s support has made it possible to continue working here,” Sato said. “While I was at the job, there were many changes, especially in work processes. The reason we could adapt ourselves to those changes were, again, due to our coworkers’ support.”
Sato has also served in the planning and estimating division as a lead supervisor, boiler pipe section head, job planning branch head. After handing the job over to his successor, Sato will continue to work mentoring the workforce as a post-retirement employee.
Another retiree, Noriko Ooshima, the hull group’s administrative specialist, recalled her retirement celebration party with her coworkers.
“More than 180 people gathered,” Ooshima said. “That would stay in my mind for the rest of my life. I appreciate the fact that I am surrounded with so many nice coworkers.”
Ooshima served 29 years and two months to the U.S. Navy, not only at SRF-JRMC but also Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan as an accounting clerk.
Hideo Yoshida, a retiring ship electrician from the electrical shop, also recalled a memory when the Galveston-class guided missile cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5/CG 5) was swapped with USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) as the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship.
“We replaced [Blue Ridge’s] teletype machine,” Yoshida said. “Then I saw ship’s force aboard discard equipment, the same models of which were then being attached to other ships. I was amazed how resourceful the U.S. Navy was!”
Yoshida has worked at SRF-JRMC since July 1977. He started off as a ship electronic machinist before he was promoted to Foreman A in August 1988, and then Foreman B in 1991.
Farman also recognized Yasuhiko Kabaya, an equipment maintenance section Foreman B. He also recognized three other ship electricians and an electronic mechanic: Masaaki Miyashita, Takahiro Maruyama, Hideo Yoshida and Tetsuhiko Koyama, respectively.
After the ceremony, the retirees, family members and coworkers cruised through the production shops and throughout the base in a chartered shuttle bus. Per command tradition, coworkers threw colorful streamers as they celebrated and bid their last farewells.