Four U.S. sailors were named official friends of Japan on Monday at the Yokosuka, Japan, Trinity Hotel.

The sailors were recognized with four sailors of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces by the U.S./Japan Navy Friendship Association for their work in promoting friendship and understanding between the two navies.

The competition is open to enlisted sailors from Yokosuka, Atsugi, Iwakuni, Sasebo and Okinawa. This year’s sailors were from Misawa Air Base and U.S. 7th Fleet in Yokosuka.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Greg Williams speaks Japanese fluently — so well that the mineman from Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 12 was loaned to the City of Misawa for 10 days to coordinate a city event. His language skills also bridge the gap for festivals, community service and contracting efforts.

Chief Petty Officer Troy Snyder, the career counselor assigned to Misawa’s Command Task Force 57/72, organized several bilateral “fun” activities — from a tug-of-war to golf outings.

From Yokosuka, 7th Fleet Band musician Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Gromacki was recognized for being “instrumental” in coordinating performances with both the JMSDF band and bands in the community.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Keith Barrett, also of 7th Fleet, won accolades for his work on ANNUALEX 2007, the yearly maritime exercise between the navies. Barrett installed a computer system used in the exercise and trained Japanese sailors how to use it.

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