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CPO 365 Sailors help Japanese volunteers clean-up local community
Story by Sky M. Laron
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan – More than 30 Sailors from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka partnered with local Japanese volunteers as part of a joint clean-up project May 29 in the Mabori neighborhood of Yokosuka, which is a short 15-min drive outside the gates of Yokosuka Naval Base.
Sailors battled bees, bugs, thorns and extreme heat (approximately 90-degrees Fahrenheit) in order to clear more than 100-meters of thickly overgrown pedestrian walkways from weeds and other debris, which roughly filled 85 large trash bags to capacity.
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 Chief Ship’s Serviceman 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.
“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,” said 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 Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Khoi Pham, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Navy Food Management Team Leading Chief Petty Officer and CPO 365 member.
For Logistics Specialist 1st Class 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 Logistics Specialist 1st Class 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.