U.S. military, local Okinawa communities participate in 43rd Annual Ginowan Traffic Safety Relay

Runners participate in the 43rd Annual Ginowan Safety Relay at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 18, 2020. The relay race was held to raise awareness for road safety and to build the relationship between the U.S. military and local Okinawa communities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary R. Larsen)
Runners participate in the 43rd Annual Ginowan Safety Relay at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 18, 2020. The relay race was held to raise awareness for road safety and to build the relationship between the U.S. military and local Okinawa communities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary R. Larsen)

U.S. military, local Okinawa communities participate in 43rd Annual Ginowan Traffic Safety Relay

by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

A big part of life in Okinawa is the amount of traffic that occurs on a daily basis. The Ginowan City Traffic Safety Relay is held for communities to bond and practice the importance of traffic safety.

“This race is always a bit of healthy competition with the local communities,” said Lt. j. g. Brian Bort, a Chaplain assigned to MCAS Futenma and native of Oakland, California. “The number one principle between U.S. and Japan is friendship and we get to come out here and show how friendship is done in the United States and Japan.”

There were 35 teams that competed in the relay race. The U.S. Marine Corps had two teams, one consisting of enlisted Marines the other of officers.

“The Ginowan City Fire Department firefighters are so good at this and they train very well. They always show very sincere competition and show friendship the same way we do,” said Bort.

The route of the relay ran around MCAS Futenma’s perimeter. It included rolling hills and sharp turns for the runners, all while practicing traffic safety.

“I ran the race last year and it’s an amazing opportunity to see what the local culture is like and it really helps build relations between local communities and the U.S. military,” said Lance Cpl. Alejanvro Ortiz, a Marine with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and native of Aspen, Colorado.

“There is no fun without a little bit of risk, and if a Marine is good at running, I would love to them out here next year," he said.

At the conclusion of the race, Ginowan City Fire Department was named the winner, with the Marine Corps Enlisted team close behind at 1st runner-up, and the Marine Corps Officer team finishing as the 4th runner-up.

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