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Okinawan residents and Marine Corps members work together to help the environment

Date Posted: 1998-03-27

Officials from the Okinawa community and the US Marine Corps came together to encourage growth of friendship through environmental awareness on Feb 27.

The two groups met to celebrate the planting of 14 Ryukyu pine trees along Camp Hansen's fence line near Gate One. The trees were donated by the staff of the Kin Mayor's office as part of a beautification project between the office and Camp Hansen.

The ceremony was co-hosted by Col G.W. Anderson, commanding officer Headquarters and Service Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Unit and camp commander for Camp Hansen, and Kin mayor Okomoto Shimaguchi. Other American officials attending the ceremony were Robert S. Luke, Consulate General, American consulate, and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey B. Higginbotham, Commanding General, Camp Smedley D. Butler/Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Base Japan.

Officials representing the Okinawan community included Hideki Harashima, Ambassador from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Liaison Office and Shimaguchi Takehiko, Director for Naha Defense Finance Administrative Bureau.

Ceremony speakers addressed the importance of the environment and the way each side was working together as environmental stewards. Afterwards, officials placed topsoil at the base of the newly planted trees.

"The trees are the first step in a plan that may result in the planting of another set of trees along the fence line," said Chiyoko Kochi, a community relations specialist at Camp Hansen. "I think this is a representation of what we can do by working together to further protect the environment," said Mr. Luke following the tree planting ceremony.

"I hope that in coming years these trees will represent the growing friendship between our Sailors and Marines and the Okinawa Community," said Anderson.

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