October 13, 2016
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|PENSACOLA — American service members will foster friendship with their Japanese allies on Saturday, October 22, at a special event celebrating U.S.-Japan camaraderie at the National Naval Aviation Museum. For the second consecutive year, the Japan-America Society of Northwest Florida is partnering with the Japan-US Military Program (JUMP) and the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami to bring together those who have served in Japan.
This year’s event will kick off with an opening welcome from Japanese Taiko Drums and dancers in the Blue Angels Atrium starting at 1 p.m. A reception will follow at the USS Cabot flight deck until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and all are invited to join in as we honor veterans and active duty forces while celebrating the deep friendship between the United States and our allies in Japan.
JUMP is excited to welcome distinguished guests to the program including:
• Admiral Patrick Walsh, USN (ret.), Senior Vice President, iSIGHT Partners; Senior Fellow in National Security and Defense, John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, Southern Methodist University; and Chairman, Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations
About JUMP: www.JUMProgram.org
About The Japan-America Society of Northwest Florida: http://jasnwfl.org/
About Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA: www.SPFUSA.org
My family and I first went to Japan in 1984, when I commanded a guided missile destroyer newly homeported in Yokosuka. It didn’t take long before the beauty of Japan and the hospitality of the Japanese people captured my admiration and affection. Both of our children returned to Japan later for exchange visits.
Although Japanese people and Americans are different in so many ways, through the years our people have formed unique personal bonds and a sincere appreciation for each other’s countries. That is especially true among service members, government civilians, and their families who have served in Japan.
While I no longer explore the coast of Japan from a ship, I am now happy to be working with JUMP and helping to connect past and present service members and their families with others who have this shared experience. I believe Japan and America have much to offer each other, and JUMP is a powerful tool through which we can continue to build upon the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN (ret.) is a renowned expert on Asia Pacific policy and issues, having served as Director of National Intelligence and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. During his 34-year Navy career, Blair served on guided missile destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and commanded the Kitty Hawk Battle Group. Ashore, he served as Director of the Joint Staff and held budget and policy positions on the National Security Council and several major Navy staffs. He is the Chairman of the Board at Sasakawa USA, which administers JUMP, and he has participated as a recurring featured guest at JUMP events.
About two hundred active-duty American and Japanese service members and other Southern California-area JUMPers came together Tuesday in San Diego for a JUMP event celebrating camaraderie, baseball, and the U.S.-Japan alliance.
JUMP’s second annual event at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, held again in cooperation with the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana, brought together the large group for a Padres v. Marlins game. The contingent of active service-members included U.S. Navy Sailors and their Japanese counterparts who came from three Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships in San Diego for a port call.
In addition to watching the game, participants had the opportunity to swap stories, network, and enjoy the company of others who have served within US Forces Japan as well as Japanese forces.
The event kicked off just before the game began with a ceremonial kagami biraki sake barrel opening ceremony and a kanpai toast from the T-Mobile Home Run Deck in right field. The game then opened with an on-field ball cap exchange between Rear Admiral Markham K. Rich, Commander of the Navy Region Southwest, and Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Iwasaki with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, who both were attending as part of the JUMP delegation. JUMP also was pleased to welcome the Hon. Hidehisa Horinouchi, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, as well as members of JUMP and JSSDT including Dave Tuites, President of JSSDT; and Lieutenant Colonel James Kendall, USMC (ret.), Director of JUMP and a Fellow at Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.
Back at the home run deck, the group enjoyed dinner and drinks and a surprise visit from retired Japanese professional baseball pitcher Takashi Saito, who last played for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The group also was excited to watch famed Japanese MLB player Ichiro Suzuki who, at the time of the game, was only one hit away from tying the record for all-time career hits, set at 4,256 by Pete Rose.
The group waved signs of support calling for “Ichiro” to bat, which he finally did at the top of the ninth inning. Suzuki struck a ground ball, but was out before making it to first base — leaving Rose’s record intact for another day. Although the next day’s afternoon matchup was not part of the official JUMP event, several JMSDF members planned to attend. There, they would have witnessed Suzuki land a single in the first inning and a double into the right-field corner in the ninth, officially surpassing Rose’s professional record.
JUMP would like to extend warm thanks to staff members with both the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF who supported this event and helped make it a success. We about doubled participation in this event over the 2015 event in San Diego, and we look forward to collaborating again in the future!
Planning for the next JUMP event in New Orleans on July 14 is now well underway, and additional events are coming up in Pensacola, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Make sure to visit JUMProgram.org frequently to check our calendar for upcoming events or sign up for the JUMP newsletter to keep informed on all our projects!
2023 The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP)
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