Atsugi group begins trash walking rite
ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — More than 60 people lined up in the sun Friday to walk the base flight line in search of trash.
Community members, base officials and a hearty contingent of Navy Seabees took part in an Earth Day cleanup that Atsugi’s Special Events Committee sponsored. The newly-created committee works to extend responsibility for community events to the entire base by involving many departments.
Volunteers hiked six miles picking up debris, some of which may have been there for years.
“It’s amazing what you can accumulate on a 6-mile path,” said base spokesman Brian Naranjo.
Some volunteers reached through the fence to pick up trash outside the base. Others found a hubcap and pieces of a picnic table. The group together collected about three truckloads of trash, Naranjo said.
Many of those participating were Seabees attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, deployed to Atsugi from Port Hueneme, Calif.
It “shows our appreciation for the base,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky Jones, a Seabee builder. “It’s actually a really clean base.”
“It’s just fun to get away from the daily swing of life and do something good,” said Seaman Michael Harrington, also a builder.
The Special Events Committee allows representatives from key departments, including security, public works, Morale Welfare and Recreation, and public affairs to speak on behalf of their departments at planning meetings, so decisions can be made more quickly, Naranjo said.
They also can guide planning through what they can offer. For instance, several departments on the base provided Earth Day cleanup supplies such as trash bags, gloves, warning vests, safety cones, and trucks to transport the garbage collected.
The group is planning activities for upcoming holidays and a multi-cultural event to celebrate the diversity on base. The new Earth Day cleanup tradition also will continue, Naranjo said. “We’ll be doing it again next year for sure.”