More than 30 Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Command (FLC) Yokosuka partnered with Japanese volunteers as part of a joint clean-up project May 29 in the Mabori neighborhood of Yokosuka, a short 15-minute drive outside the gates of Yokosuka Naval Base.
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LS1 Joquel Chapple, a NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka CPO 365 member, rakes up weeds and debris during a local clean-up service project this past May in Yokosuka, Japan.
Sailors cleared more than 100-meters of thickly overgrown pedestrian walkways from weeds and other debris, which roughly filled 85 large trash bags.
These efforts brought together the logistics Sailors with their Japanese neighbors in an effort to keep their hometown beautiful as well as build service and leadership expertise.
"Community service gives Sailors the opportunity to give back to the city, which builds respect and trust in the community," said SHC Marcus Ponder, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Provisions Customer Service leading chief petty officer and CPO 365 community relations planner.
CPO 365 is a yearlong development and training program for first class petty officers, which was first introduced in 2010, and, according to guidance put out by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens, developing effective leaders does not happen in a few short weeks, it is a continuous and never-ending process in which CPO 365 is the single, sustained method to train, build and develop chief petty officers.
The host-nation citizens were grateful to meet their helpful American neighbors.
"The people of Mabori are very happy to have the Americans helping here today," said Junpei Kayama, a Yokosuka city councilman, who took part in the event. "The citizens in this area are of a much older demographic and needed the man-power that the Sailors provided ... this was a very nice thing."
Being nice was important, but the neighborhood members also benefited from the physical strength that the Sailors supplied.
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CSCS Khoi Pham (right), NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Navy Food Management Team Leading Chief Petty Officer and CPO 365 member, shakes hands with Junpei Kayama, a Yokosuka City Councilman, during a joint community clean-up project in Yokosuka, Japan.
"We usually try to do this twice a month, but really appreciate having the Sailors help today because this is hard work and they've helped us keep up with it," explained Takaaki Kobayashi, chairman of Clean Yokosuka, a local volunteer group.
Kobayashi added that the area being cleaned up was also a school zone trafficked daily by many students and the work put forth by the Sailors helped with the safety of those children.
"Our first class petty officers are in their training phase and they are out here with us (chiefs) helping the community and maintaining those positive relationships," said CSCS Khoi Pham, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Navy Food Management Team leading chief petty officer and CPO 365 member.
For LS1 Brian Weil, a CPO 365 member and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Operations Department Logistics Service Representative, it was all about showing appreciation.
For others, the time spent outdoors was a plus.
"It's nice to come out in nature and do a good deed," said LS1 Sharon Canales, a member of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka's Industrial Support department.
This was one good deed that did not go unnoticed by the people of Yokosuka.
"Everybody wins today," said Hiroshi Miyazaki, a member of the Yokosuka City Public Works Department and fellow participant. "We encourage all citizens of Yokosuka to keep their city clean and this was such a wonderful thing to have the Sailors help."
At the end of the day, hard work, sweat and the desire to develop strong Navy leaders has led this group of Sailors back through the gates of Yokosuka Naval base, knowing that they made a positive impact on their local community.
By Sky Laron; NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications