CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Leaders of the local community and Marines attended a friendship softball game and barbecue June 11 aboard Camp Kinser for Col. Christopher Feyedelem’s, the Camp Kinser camp commander and commanding officer of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Headquarters Regiment, farewell gathering.
“We really need to do this more often, it’s a good opportunity to get together, share some friendship and see who’s coordinated and who’s not,” said Feyedelem, with a laugh, during his opening remarks before kicking off the game.
Feyedelem has been the Camp Kinser camp commander since 2015 and has worked to keep the relationship between the local and military community as strong as possible.
“The colonel is so nice,” said Urasoe Mayor Tetsuji Matsumoto. “It was easy to build a friendship with him. This friendship softball game is a great opportunity to understand each other. It’ll be good to continue this in the future, not only in softball, but basketball, any kind of sport, music or concerts, things like that. I think we need more opportunities to build friendships and understand each other. The relationship between the local and military community continues to get better.”
Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Urasoe Police Department, City Hall, the mayor of Urasoe, the U.S. consul and Camp Kinser Marines came together for a friendly game of softball, followed by an all-American lunch, hotdogs and hamburgers.
“We look forward to trying to expand this,” said Sgt. Major James Monroe, the Camp Kinser sergeant major. “Not only with softball, but there are bowling opportunities and other adventures aboard the camp, as well as out in town, we can come together and do great things.”
Attendees lined up on the third baseline and were numbered one or two, in order to integrate teams to make the game friendlier.
"I think today went better than planned,” said Feyedelem. “Initially we planned to play the Japanese versus the Americans, but we decided to integrate right off the bat. I think that was good because it built on our camaraderie and friendship, and embodied our strong relationship.”
Throughout the game there was good sportsmanship, high-fives and encouragement.
“Col. Feyedelem has been so impressive,” said U.S. Consul Joel Ehrendreich. “Today is a primary example of him taking the initiative to reach out to the local community and finding something we have in common. Leaders like him continue to build the important relationship we have with people of Urasoe.”
Jokes and laughter were heard across the field as the game went on, encouraging comments like “Hit a line drive!” and then as the batter hit the ball foul, behind them, their teammates shouted “No, the other way!”
“This was a fantastic event, it accomplished what we wanted, which was to further the relationship with Urasoe City and the local community,” said Feyedelem. “It was great to see the leaders of the local community come out and support Camp Kinser and the Marines.”