– The day after arriving in Miyakojima, Japan, for a friendship
concert, the U.S. 7th Fleet Band Far East Edition cleaned the
Painagama Beach shoreline on Dec. 12.
The 23 band members are the most recent Sailors to visit the island
since the mine countermeasures ship USS Defender (MCM 2) made a port
call visit at Hirara Port in Miyakojima Sept. 21.
U.S. Consulate General Naha Deputy Principal Officer Claire
Kaneshiro said, the consulate likes to do community service events
whenever there is a visit in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan, by the
military where there is no military installation.
“We coordinated with the city of Miyako and asked what would be a
helpful community relations event for the city,” Kaneshiro said.
“The city said they would like to do the beach cleanup.
“This is a great grassroots example of our commitment to
environmental protection. While living in Japan we have access to
world-class historic sites, amazing natural parks and beaches, and
it is a great way of showing of how we view ourselves as part of the
community,” Kaneshiro added.
The Sailors devoted the early morning to the community service
project, landscaping the white sandy beach and picking up trash.
Senior Chief Musician Joe Rundall, 7th Fleet Band senior enlisted
leader and assistant director, said it was nice seeing the smiles on
Sailors faces as they picked up trash on the beach.
“It’s good to see them do other things than just play music, which
is what they normally do all the time,” Rundall said. “Community
service projects like this help keep Sailors sharp in the event of
an actual humanitarian aid mission.”
Musician 3rd Class Camellia Akhamie, a drummer for the 7th Fleet
Band, said everything went well and this was the second time in her
naval career she took part in a beach cleanup.
“It shows the people who live in the area that we care about other
places in the world as well like Miyakojima and not just America
only,” Akhamie said.
The garbage removed from the beach filled more than 50 bags of
trash, which held the maximum weight of 20 pounds per bag and three
industrial sized tires.
The Miyakojima visit was a first for the U.S. 7th Fleet Band, as the
band travels throughout the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in the
Asian-Pacific region as goodwill ambassadors to the U.S. promoting
peace and stability through their music, demonstrating commitment to
regional partnerships and to foster growing relationships.