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Save the date for the third Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP) Annual Dinner on Wednesday, March 28, at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, DC. The reception will feature a keynote speech by Secretary of the Air Force, the Hon. Dr. Heather Wilson. The reception will begin at 5:00 pm in the Ballroom, and dinner will begin at 6:00 pm in the Main Dining Room (one seat per registrant). The suggested uniform will be Service “A” for service members and business attire for civilians and retirees. The invitation-only event is for JUMP members. (See below for how to join JUMP and receive an invitation.)

The Hon. Dr.  Wilson is the 24th Secretary of the Air Force and is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training and equipping and providing for the welfare of 660,000 Active-Duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces their families. She oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $132 billion and directs strategy and policy development, risk management, weapons acquisition, technology investments and human resource management across a global enterprise. 

Last year’s dinner featured a keynote address by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, who discussed the state of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the challenges of growing maritime competition in the Asia Pacific, and a speech by Admiral (ret.) Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence and Commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

RSVP details for this year’s dinner will be forthcoming. To receive your invitation, you must be a member of JUMP. If you aren’t already a member, sign up now: Join JUMP.

The JUMP program seeks to bring together those American service members, government employees, and their families who have served in Japan and would like to remain in contact with the Japanese culture, language, and people, as well as stay informed about the U.S.-Japan alliance. The program is a collaboration between Sasakawa USA, the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS), and the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. 

Photo Caption and Credit: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kareem Samuel, 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist expeditor, gives Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson a unit patch on behalf of his squadron Feb. 1, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Members of Team Kadena showcased aircraft and highlighted their missions and ideas during Wilson’s tour of the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)

JUMP deepened and broadened its focus and event offerings in its second year, while rerunning a few old hits. In January, we held an event focusing on U.S. bases on Okinawa featuring the chairman and CEO of Sasakawa USA, Admiral Dennis Blair, JUMP program director Lieutenant Colonel James Kendall and Lieutenant General Chip Gregson. The three had written a report on the issue, which has become more and more politically volatile recently.

In February, we held a networking event in Port Tampa Bay to honor veterans who had been stationed in Japan and let them meet Japanese people living in the Tampa Bay area. On a lighter note, we also attended the Japan Festival at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, a family-friendly affair with a ninja skit, Okinawan classical dance, and Japanese toys.
March kicked off with a joint US-Japanese military band concert held at the Embassy of Japan to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and thank the U.S. for its efforts to help. Lieutenant General Kenneth Glueck and LtCol Kendall delivered remarks. One of the highlights of the year was our first annual dinner at the Army and Navy Club, where General Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, joined Adm Blair to speak about the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Save the date for our second annual dinner coming up this spring!

The evening networking continued later in the month with an open bar at Sine’ Irish Pub in Arlington and a reception in Los Angeles for service members who have been stationed in Japan. And once again, we participated in a kid-friendly festival: the April Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) in Washington, D.C., the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in America. Our booth offered kingyo sukui, a traditional Japanese goldfish-catching game.

Japan loves baseball, so we had to bring back the popular baseball game event from 2015. This year, we visited a Padres-Marlins game in San Diego in June, which brought together American sailors with Japanese sailors visiting for a port call. Retired Japanese pro baseball pitcher Takashi Saito even showed up. In July, JUMP headed to the Big Easy for an event at the National World War II Museum. The keynote speaker, Lieutenant General Burt Field, celebrated the progress in U.S.-Japan relations in the past 70 years.

September was a busy month for JUMP — we had a reception at the Marine Corps Base Quantico that reunited Marines with a connection to Japan. Then at an event at Seattle’s Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Hall, we honored other veterans with a connection to Japan: second-generation Japanese-Americans who fought for the U.S. in World War II. Distinguished guests included the consul general of Japan and generals from both countries. At the end of the month, our members acquainted themselves with a selection of Japanese whiskies and sake at a tasting event at the Army and Navy Club.

Our final two events this year were continuations of successful gatherings from last year. In October, we met at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola to watch a taiko performance and hear from distinguished speakers, including Consul General Ken Okaniwa and Admiral Patrick Walsh. Our November event at the National War College in Washington, D.C. focused on challenges for the U.S. and Japan in Northeast Asia. We heard from Adm. Blair along with Japanese Rear Admiral Yuki Sekiguchi and prominent scholars of Asia associated with Washington think tanks. JUMP also attended a reception for the Japan Self-Defense Forces at the Japanese Embassy on October 27.

We hope to continue building on this strong foundation of events next year, and thank you to our members for their support! If you’d like to see photos of these events, there are plenty more in our galleries.

If you’re not already a JUMP member, sign up today to ensure you’re invited to all the great events to come in 2017!

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Pensacola is gearing up for this weekend’s Japan-US Military Program (JUMP) event, as previewed in the October 19 edition of the Pensacola News Journal.

“The relationship between the U.S. and Japan has evolved and gotten stronger over time,” said JUMP Program Director James Kendall in the article. “Now we are closer to Japan than ever, in part because it has become a lot less of an alien place for Americans. There are many Americans who have visited Japan and come away with a very positive impression.”

“Kendall encouraged local military members who have served in Japan to attend Saturday’s event and share their experiences. He said it is important to reinforce the friendship between the two countries,” the article reads.

“We feel it is never good to take anything for granted. Something may seem very stable, but it doesn’t stay that way through happenstance,” he said.

Read the full article here or see more info on the event here.

Seeking to expose JUMP members to new and different aspects of Japanese culture, on September 30 the Japan US Military Program (JUMP) held its first sake and whisky tasting event at The Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C.

About 50 members attended the social, where they learned all about different types of sake and Japanese whisky in a sophisticated setting. Each attendee was presented with a complimentary sake masu, a traditional wooden box cup used to drink sake, emblazoned with the JUMP logo. The masu were used to sample the varying types of sake, ranging in quality from junmai to junmai ginjo to honjozo, all of which were described in great detail by Edward Rapp of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, of Washington, D.C.

In addition to the sake tasting, there was also a sample of Nikka whiskey from Japan for attendees to try, as well as Sapporo beer and hors d’oeurves that included sliders, gyoza dumplings, and sushi. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to socialize with others who have connections to Japan and share in a memorable night of friendship and fun. Overall, the JUMP social was another showcasing of how JUMP is connecting its members with new and different aspects of Japanese culture that they might not have known before.

Event summary by Nicholas Dowse

Photos by Joy Asico.

2022 The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP)

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