CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Dec. 4, 2019) -- The 71st annual BG Sams Equestrian Cup, held Nov. 24, brought the Soldiers, family members and staff of U.S. Army Medical Activity -- Japan together with Japanese medical students at Tsukui Equestrian Park.
The event is named after Brig. Gen. Crawford F. Sams, who served as chief of the Public Health and Welfare section of the General Headquarters, Supreme Command Allied Powers for Japan, which aided in the reconstruction of the Japanese health care system after World War II.
During his opening remarks, Col. Marvin Emerson, MEDDAC-J commander, said Sams was a leader among medical professionals, who worked hard with his Japanese colleagues to improve medicine and build on the relationship between Japanese and American citizens in Japan.
Sams "had a great passion for people, horses and medicine, and he donated this cup to be awarded at the … equestrian competition each year," continued Emerson.
"I believe that BG Sams would be thrilled to see that this tradition continues to this day," said Emerson.
Emerson said the competition represents the continued great relationship between Japanese and American medical professionals.
Moe Kanda, a student at Gifu University, who was on a combined team with Iwate Medical University, won the cup and the Player of the Tournament award.
"Practice and experience helped us win the cup today," Kanda said.
Kanda said she appreciated the opportunity to not only participate in the event, but also to interact with U.S. military members and other medical students from all over Japan.
"We would not have had experiences like this if it wasn't for the people who have supported the equestrian cup," said Kanda.
Sgt. Zachariah Storm, assigned to MEDDAC-J, said he not only had a fantastic time watching the horses during the show, but also interacting with the local medical students during the reception.
Storm said he was impressed that the BG Sams Cup is still going on after more than seven decades.
"It shows that [the U.S. and Japan] have a kind of bond between our cultures," said Storm. "This was a significant event … to continuously help build our bilateral relationship."