CAMP ZAMA, Japan – More than 20 U.S. Soldiers and Japanese counterparts conducted a beautification project here Friday morning in an effort to also strengthen their partnership.
The participants collected nearly 30 large bags of debris as they cleared brush, grass and trash from the sidewalk areas outside the installation’s main gate.
“We’re basically taking the initiative to clean up our home and we’re doing it together as one team,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Justin E. Turner, senior enlisted leader for U.S. Army Garrison Japan.
Turner joined Soldiers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or BOSS, and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, as well as several Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, or JGSDF, members during the cleanup event.
“It’s a good team-building activity for us,” he said. “And it’s about taking pride in where we live.”
Pfc. Roxana Jaimes, the BOSS representative for the 78th Signal Battalion, said she has previously worked with JGSDF members at a training event and was grateful for the chance to closely interact with them again.
“We all have the same goal,” she said of the bilateral partnership. “We’re all on the same team and we all work together.”
Jaimes, who has lived in Japan for one and a half years, said the BOSS program has been a great way for her to meet Japanese people and other Soldiers through various community events like the cleanup.
“It’s easy to be sad and frustrated being in Japan [and] away from your family,” she said, “but once you start doing more activities with BOSS, you forget all of that and have a more positive outlook.”
Sgt. Shota Kikuchi, a JGSDF engineer who has been stationed here for five years, said he believed the cleanup effort will give those who pass by the installation a better impression of Camp Zama.
The event was also his first time to participate in an activity with SoYou-kai, the JGSDF’s noncommissioned officer organization.
“In the future, I will continue to join and work with the organization,” he said, adding that he also looks forward to collaborating more with American Soldiers.
“This kind of activity is a good opportunity to get to know each other and also strengthen our close relationship,” he said. “By strengthening the relationship, we may be able to improve our capabilities.”