Business as Usual: the English Networking Dinner

by Cpl. Royce Dorman, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office
U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan --  Service members gathered alongside local business owners for the English Networking Dinner March 27 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.

The dinner, hosted by Asia Logistics Partners, is held once a month at various locations throughout Okinawa to provide a social setting for service members, local business owners, interested community partners and Okinawa residents to network.

“The dinner brings together the community and the base … (It also) allows service members, Okinawa residents and other business owners the opportunity to network and help each other out,” said Master Sgt. Jason A. Annis, the Communications Chief and Command Financial Specialist for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

At a networking dinner, conversation starters can be priceless. Hangar 546 made for an interesting place to host the dinner showcasing one of the most uniquely-designed and capable airframes ever developed by the U.S. military – the MV-22B Osprey.

According to Cesar Kennedy, a local business owner, attending the dinner was a great way to start a conversation and break the ice, moving past some of the challenges of finding connections in town.

“Walking up and meeting a stranger, finding out what they do and if what they do can help you… is virtually impossible,” said Kennedy, a Brooklyn, New York, native.

Although casual in nature with no assigned seats or long-winded speeches, this open event is still oriented way to create new connections and new relationships among the U.S. military and the Okinawan community.

“We feel that having an informal event makes it much easier for people to talk and get to know each other,” said Mike Holland, another local business owner, who helped found and continues to help arrange the monthly dinners.

MCAS Futenma and all Marine camps on Okinawa open their doors regularly to Okinawa residents and interested parties, showcasing the strong relationship with neighbors.

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