Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Mackenzie P. Adams
Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOHAMA, Japan (Oct. 17, 2012) Sailors assigned to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilber (DDG 54) and shore commands from Fleet Activities, Yokosuka (FLEACT, Yokosuka) participated in a community service project (COMSERV) at Negishi housing complex, Wednesday, October 17th.
COMSERVs serve as a bridge to strengthen the relationship with Sailors in the Yokosuka area and the local Japanese population.
The project began with 40 third grade students from the nearby Yamamoto elementary school coming to the community center at Negishi and meeting the Sailors.
“I was nervous to talk to the Sailors at first,” said Keui Kawabe, one of the students from Yamamoto Elementary. “But, after I talked to them I learned they were very nice and I wasn’t nervous anymore. I had a lot of fun with the Sailors.”
After the introductions the children and Sailors played a game. The students lined up with the Sailors and were told a set of four words to pass through the line to see if they could come out with the same four words at the end of the line.
The students and Sailors then spent time together doing arts and crafts.
The students had lanyard making, painting, play dough sculpting, origami, and other activities to choose from. For some of the Sailors, the opportunity to share some American childhood memories was very exciting.
“I had such a great time teaching the children arts and crafts,” said Yeoman Seaman Yasmeen Emerson, blue jacket of the quarter for Curtis Wilber. “My favorite part of today had to be sharing this childhood past time with the children. I think teaching them things like this provides a deeper cultural understanding. It is very important to have a strong relationship with the Japanese children because we want to be seen as friends to all Japanese people.”
Later on, another forty students came to the community center to participate in some arts and crafts fun. Some of the participating Sailors believed the COMSERV to be very rewarding for some of the Sailors who participated.
“This experience was so great,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician 2nd Class Arric Reed, a Sailor assigned to Curtis Wilber. “It is an unique opportunity to be able to interact with Japanese children. It feels good to know that we are all here teaching these kids English and being creative with them.”
This is the fifteenth COMSERV that Sailors assigned to Curtis Wilber have coordinated and participated in this year. Most of the Sailors at Wednesday’s COMSERV have participated in many other COMSERVs, but say that this one was one of their favorites.