U.S. service members, Okinawan locals rock out
U.S. service members and local Okinawans poured into the gates of Camp Schwab on Mar. 25-25, 2018, to enjoy Schwabfest, an annual festival that consists of a vast selection of food, rock music and games.
“It feels great to be out here to not only support our nation, but the nation of Japan as well,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob Molnar, an admin clerk with MAG-36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The main attraction of Schwabfest was the concert, where many hard metal bands, including Asking Alexandria, entertained the crowd. Service members spent the evening rocking out with the locals as well as soaking in their culture, which is something Lance Cpl. Zander Godwin says creates positive relationships on and off the battlefield.
“I love it out here. The culture is very unique, the people here are very polite, and the opportunities for military exercises are better,” said Godwin, a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. “Being able to work with other nations is a very great experience and by working with them, you see how much of a positive impact we have.”
During Schwabfest, U.S Marines interacted with Okinawan locals and taught them about U.S. military vehicles and equipment. The vehicles on display consisted of an MV-22 Osprey, an amphibious assault vehicle and a light armored vehicle.
Lance Cpl. Allen Robertson, an infantryman stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, is attached to 3rd Marine Division through the unit deployment program and says he has realized after being out in the Pacific that Okinawa is a unique duty station.
“I feel like it’s a privilege to deploy out to Okinawa, Japan,” said Robertson, an automatic rifleman with 2/1. “Out here, we are the face of the United States and we must always set the example.”
The purpose of this event is to bring the citizens of Okinawa and U.S. service members together to maintain and strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and its ally.