KYOTANGO-SHI, Japan - Soldiers of the 14th Missile Defense Battery who operate the Kyogamisaki Communication Site teamed up with locals from the surrounding community for a cleanup of Suisho-hama Beach, Nov 8.
Suisho-hama means “crystal,” according to Katsuro Shintaro, community relations specialist for the battery.
“It used to be a very nice beach with crystal clear water, but over the years it’s become unclean, and vehicles cannot access it to take the trash out,” Shintaro said.
Due to the beach’s remote location, the Soldiers and civilians made a human chain along the beach’s only accessible trail to haul out trash strewn about the beach.
Maj. Blake Benedict, 14th Missile Defense Battery commander, said events like this not only help the local community, but boost Soldier morale.
“It is extremely important to show that we are not only good neighbors but active members of the community. By volunteering in such events, it shows we care about our gracious Japanese hosts and want to make Kyotango a better place for everyone who lives here,” Benedict said. “Volunteering and participating in the community allows the troopers to not only help the community, but also sightsee. Since about 95 percent of the Soldiers here volunteer, it has a huge impact on morale.”
Benedict said beach cleanups are almost a monthly event for the Soldiers in the battery during the warm months of the year.
The battery is operated by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s 1st Space Brigade.