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Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 1st Class David Medel, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Tsurumi Fuel Terminal operations leading petty officer, trims shrubs and bushes at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery May 25.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY SKY M. LARON
DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
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NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Sailors take part in a moment of silence during their community relations cleanup project at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery May 25.
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka Sailors gathered on sacred soil May 25 at Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery for a community relations cleanup project. The cemetery holds the final remains of foreigners from 41 nations including many U.S. service members, some from nearly two centuries ago.
The Sailors came armed with rakes, hedge trimmers, clippers, brooms and gloves to clear away overgrown vegetation and weeds from the historic grounds as well as dispose of trash and debris.
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Chief Yeoman Lisa Reinhardt, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Business Operations Department (Code 300), leading chief petty officer, rakes leaves at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery May 25.
“I felt proud and honored to be able to come together and give back to our host nation and to honor the men and women buried here,” said Chief Yeoman Lisa Reinhardt, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Business Operations Department (Code 300), leading chief petty officer. “It was a somber event to think about the fallen U.S. military service members buried here and it made me realize the absolute mutual respect we share with our host nation of Japan.”
The first to be laid to rest at the cemetery was Robert Williams, a 24-year-old Marine, who died aboard the USS Mississippi, one of the steam frigates commanded by Commodore Mathew Perry, who sailed his black ships to Japan and opened up the country from its strict isolationism, which had been enforced for more than 200 years under the Tokugawa Shogun-ate and kept Japan off-limits to the rest of the world.
Japan and the U.S. would open up relations with the Treaty of Kanagawa signing in 1854, and Perry would request land to be used as a cemetery in which to bury Williams.
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NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Sailors took part in a community relations cleanup project May 25 at Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery.
“To me, selfless service has a special meaning with Memorial Day just passing – it means being a part of something bigger than yourself and for those service members that paid the ultimate price that were buried in the cemetery, that is the ultimate meaning of selfless service,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Kevin Evans, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Fuels Department (Code 700)member.
“I was thankful to have been given the opportunity to help preserve their final resting place. They paved the way for our relations with the Japanese people in one way or the other,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 1st Class David Medel, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Tsurumi Fuel Terminal operations leading petty officer.
At the end of the day, more than 75 bags of debris were hauled away from the quiet tree-lined plot of land, and it was a group of logistics Sailors from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka who took on the task of aiding in this historic cemetery’s upkeep.
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Information Systems Technician 1st Class Albert Hermogino, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka community relations cleanup volunteer, removes weeds and debris at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery May 25.