Volunteers clean, beautify Okinawa
NAGO, OKINAWA, JAPAN -- Marines and sailors of Camp Schwab and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma cleaned nearby areas as part of “Okinawa 5.30 Go-Mi-Zero,” an islandwide beautification campaign, May 30.
For the purpose of the campaign, Okinawa 5.30 has two meanings. The first references the date of the event, May 30. The second meaning alludes to the pronunciation of the date in Japanese “go-mi-zero,” or “no gomi,” gomi being the Japanese word for garbage. Organizers of the campaign asked local residents to clean their neighborhoods as a way to beautify Okinawa.
Camp Schwab volunteers picked up litter at a waterfront in the Futami district in Nago. MCAS Futenma volunteers cleared trash along the road to their main gate.
The Go-Mi-Zero highlighted the efforts of Marines and sailors who volunteered with the Futami district in an official capacity, according to Satoshi Gisushi, the Futami district community relations warden.
“The spirit behind doing this volunteer work, under constructive intentions, will leave a positive influence on the local community,” said Gisushi. “As long as that spreads throughout the Marine Corps and more Marines decide to help out with the local community, people will come together and have a closer relationship with the Marine Corps.”
The service members hope that the cleanup continues to build strong ties with the local community around Camp Schwab, according to Gunnery Sgt. Jack A. Stolz, the company first sergeant of Combat Engineering Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“The idea is to be involved with the community and show that Marines are not here just to train on base,” said Stolz. “It’s always good to be involved, whether it’s overseas or stateside.”
The Marines and sailors spent hours clearing the waterfront and ultimately picked up over 30 bags of litter.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jay A. Domingo, a hospital corpsman with the CAB, noted that Marines and sailors are sincere in their efforts to keep Okinawa clean and beautiful.
“The cleanup shows that we’re willing to help out the community,” said Domingo. “It shows that we support them, and it fosters a good relationship all around.”
The Camp Schwab volunteers included senior staff noncommissioned officers with CAB who came out to clean and show junior Marines that they too are willing to get their hands dirty, according to Master Sgt. Alexis M. Gil, the communications maintenance chief with CAB.
“We’re leading by example,” said Gil. “It’s something we preach, and it’s preached to us from the moment we come into the Marine Corps. It’s something that Marines do very well. We are always trying to make sure that we show junior Marines that we, the senior leadership, are willing to do everything we ask of them. I think it sets a positive example not only for volunteer efforts but overall leadership expectations.”
While the Marines and sailors of CAB worked on the waterfront, Marines and local volunteers cleaned-up the main road leading to MCAS Futenma’s gate one.
“It’s actually kind of fun to help out,” said Pfc. Wilson K. Lo, a fiscal clerk with the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma. “That it’s for a good cause makes it worthwhile.”
The civilian volunteers were excited to work with such good neighbors, according to Mikako Miyagi, the president of the Okinawa Osprey Fan Club.
“The volunteers are happy to see the island being kept clean by the Marines,” said Miyagi. “Working together was a great experience for everyone.”
The Marines and sailors agreed that all members of the military on Okinawa should make efforts to get personally involved with their community.
“Depending on whether you’re here for one, two or three years, it’s your home,” said Gil. “It shows the people of Okinawa that we’re not just here to train, we also want to be part of the community and give something back.”