First Friendship Friday brings Kin Town, Marines closer
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- Local families lined the main gate to Camp Hansen for a fun filled day exploring the installation’s eateries, bowling alley and a static display of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.
Marines and their civilian counterparts assigned to Camp Hansen organized the first Friendship Friday event Oct. 17 on the installation for community members.
“It’s going better than expected,” said James H. Hammonds, the Camp Guard Officer. “The goal is two to three hundred today, but I think we are going to exceed that.”
Col. Sean M. McBride, the camp commander, was inspired to host the event after visiting Camp Fuji and learning about a similar project, according to Hammonds, from Monroe, North Carolina. The program provides an opportunity for community members to see Marines working, exercising and going about their normal day.
To make Friendship Friday possible, leaders of Camp Hansen communicated the idea to the Provost Marshall Office, Camp Guard and Japan Self-Defense Force, so they could begin planning and executing the necessary steps.
Marines were posted across the base to provide information and ensure attendees were guided to the attractions, according to Sgt. Ryan Menton, Sergeant of the Guard with 12th Marines Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, from Boston, Massachusetts.
After passing word on base, Kayo Takayuki, the community relations specialist, distributed flyers throughout the local community and posted the event on the Kin Town’s Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
“I am curious about what Marines do on a daily basis in uniform,” said Natsuki Nakasone, a community member.
Camp Hansen personnel plan to continue hosting Friendship Fridays and let more of the community see Marines at work.
“There are a lot of people curious about what Marines do on a day-to-day basis,” said Hammonds. “It’s a good community relations effort to show Kin Town we are here for them.”