Sports help dependents adapt
Regarding the Nov. 18 article “DODDS Pacific modifies all sports seasons”: When I first came to Okinawa in 1966, activities for military dependents were very limited. Over the years serving on two accompanied tours and one unaccompanied, I saw the tremendous population growth of dependents and I grew concerned about the lack of those activities to keep our youth occupied and out of trouble.
For many kids, this was their teenage years, a time to grow and develop their traits and character for future adulthood. Being crammed onto a small island such as Okinawa doesn’t offer much room to grow. But sports did give some relief — not only for the kids who played, but for the students who supported it.
Cutting the sports schedule for Department of Defense Dependents Schools students is just plain wrong and eliminates positive activities for kids who aren’t overseas by choice. Active-duty servicemembers have a job to do and when that is interrupted by family problems, it will affect readiness.
School sports overseas shouldn’t be looked at as an activity but rather a necessity to keep these kids occupied and limit the concerns of their active-duty parents. Don’t jam all these kids into a dot on the map and then take away one of their greatest outlets in sports.
In 1993 I attended a meeting on Kadena Air Base in which the subject was “What are we going to do about the increasing youth problems on Okinawa?” Since 1993, many more youths have been forced overseas. It makes no sense to cut any activity that can help avoid serious incidents or ruin an active-duty parent’s career.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Joe Carr (retired)