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III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office

Okinawa Marines in the Asia-Pacific region

Okinawa, Japan
‘Ruckus’ makes noise alongside Urasoe athletes

By Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders | | October 31, 2013

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Senri Shimabukuro pitches a ball to Lance Cpl. Sidney N. Standard during a softball game Oct. 26 at Camp Kinser between Urasoe-area high school students and 3rd Marine Logistics Group athletes. “I love softball and appreciated the Americans preparing their field so we can all come together to share the sport we love,” said Koji Nikawadori, the head coach for Team Urasoe. Standard is a warehouse clerk with 3rd MLG, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Senri Shimabukuro pitches a ball to Lance Cpl. Sidney N. Standard during a softball game Oct. 26 at Camp Kinser between Urasoe-area high school students and 3rd Marine Logistics Group athletes. “I love softball and appreciated the Americans preparing their field so we can all come together to share the sport we love,” said Koji Nikawadori, the head coach for Team Urasoe. Standard is a warehouse clerk with 3rd MLG, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)


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Lt. Gen John E. Wissler, center, and Brig. Gen. Niel E. Nelson share words of encouragement with members of Team Urasoe and the Ryukyu Ruckus Oct. 26 following a softball game at Camp Kinser. “It’s a good thing (the game) ended in a tie,” said Wissler. “This way everybody wins. We came out to play and have a good time, and I can see we did that. Days like this one give us a chance to continue our fulfilling relationship (with the local community), and I hope there are many more days like this.” Wissler is the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Nelson is the commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.

Lt. Gen John E. Wissler, center, and Brig. Gen. Niel E. Nelson share words of encouragement with members of Team Urasoe and the Ryukyu Ruckus Oct. 26 following a softball game at Camp Kinser. “It’s a good thing (the game) ended in a tie,” said Wissler. “This way everybody wins. We came out to play and have a good time, and I can see we did that. Days like this one give us a chance to continue our fulfilling relationship (with the local community), and I hope there are many more days like this.” Wissler is the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Nelson is the commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)


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Volunteers with the USO serve cake during a luncheon Oct. 26 at Camp Kinser following a softball game between local players and a 3rd Marine Logistics Group team. The event was a way to continue the relationship between community athletes and Okinawa-based service members and their families. The luncheon was sponsored in part by Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa and the USO. 3rd MLG is a part of III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Volunteers with the USO serve cake during a luncheon Oct. 26 at Camp Kinser following a softball game between local players and a 3rd Marine Logistics Group team. The event was a way to continue the relationship between community athletes and Okinawa-based service members and their families. The luncheon was sponsored in part by Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa and the USO. 3rd MLG is a part of III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)


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CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan --
Athletes of the world gather every four years to participate in the Olympics, where sporting competitions break language barriers and bridge culture gaps, uniting nations.

In this fashion, sports serve as a universal language, allowing all competitors to enjoy the day, and it was in this spirit that Okinawa and U.S. athletes came together to compete at Camp Kinser Oct. 26 during a fast-pitch softball game.

Local community leaders and U.S. service members organized the event as a way to demonstrate the neighborly attitude both groups share, according to Koji Nikawadori, head coach for Team Urasoe.

“Events like this are a great way to show our true (relationship) to the world,” said Nikawadori. “More importantly than showing the world, it shows our children that we are good neighbors to each other.”

The friendly competition involved female athletes from high schools throughout the Urasoe area competing against the Ryukyu Ruckus, an all-female softball team comprised of service members with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“It’s really cool (the leadership from both sides) could come together and put on an event like this,” said Jamie Emery, the head coach, designated hitter and reserve pitcher for the Ruckus. “Everyone on the teams are passionate about softball and this is a great way to share that passion with our host nation.”

As a result of this mutual passion, both teams hold a high level of respect for each other, according to Emery.

“We see the dedication and love (the Urasoe players) have for the game, and admire that very much,” said Emery. “We had only had eight practices to prepare for this, and I’m so proud of the way we played today.”

The game ended with a tie score of 10-10 after one extra inning, but it did not lessen the enjoyment for either team.

“Playing the game is what counts, no matter who wins or loses,” said Nikawadori. “Ending in a tie almost made it better.”

The effort of both teams demonstrated values service members and civilians can admire, according to Nikawadori.

“Ending in a tie shows how skilled both teams are,” said Nikawadori. “I tell my players, ‘discipline and determination are one’s destiny.’ I think everyone on the field showed that today.”

Immediately following the game, Brig. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, and Lt. Gen. John Wissler shared a few inspirational words with the players and coaches of both teams.

“Today was a great day,” said Nelson, the commanding general of 3rd MLG and event co-organizer. “We (all) came out here expecting to see a great deal of camaraderie, and that’s exactly what we have on many, many levels. Any time we get a chance to do that, we need to take full advantage.”

Wissler echoed the sentiments of sportsmanship and community good will.

“It’s a good thing (the game) ended in a tie,” said Wissler, the III MEF commanding general and event co-organizer. “This way everybody wins. We came out to play and have a good time, and I can see we did that. Days like this gives us a chance to continue our fulfilling relationship (with the local community), and I hope there are many more days like this.”

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