Support our mission
 
The Torii Knights celebrate after winning their heat in their race against two Okinawa teams at the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday. They set a blistering time of 5 minutes and 53 seconds. Japanese and U.S. military teams competed in heats of three boats, all brightly painted and resembling mythical sea dragons.
The Torii Knights celebrate after winning their heat in their race against two Okinawa teams at the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday. They set a blistering time of 5 minutes and 53 seconds. Japanese and U.S. military teams competed in heats of three boats, all brightly painted and resembling mythical sea dragons. (Matt Orr/S&S)
The Torii Knights celebrate after winning their heat in their race against two Okinawa teams at the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday. They set a blistering time of 5 minutes and 53 seconds. Japanese and U.S. military teams competed in heats of three boats, all brightly painted and resembling mythical sea dragons.
The Torii Knights celebrate after winning their heat in their race against two Okinawa teams at the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday. They set a blistering time of 5 minutes and 53 seconds. Japanese and U.S. military teams competed in heats of three boats, all brightly painted and resembling mythical sea dragons. (Matt Orr/S&S)
The Torii Knights race against a Japanese team to the finish line during the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday.
The Torii Knights race against a Japanese team to the finish line during the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races at Naha, Okinawa Wednesday. (Matt Orr/S&S)
A Japanese team gathers in a circle to psyche themselves up before entering the their boat for the dragon boat races Wednesday in Naha, Okinawa. Japanese and American teams competed against each other in three-boat races.
A Japanese team gathers in a circle to psyche themselves up before entering the their boat for the dragon boat races Wednesday in Naha, Okinawa. Japanese and American teams competed against each other in three-boat races. (Matt Orr/S&S)

NAHA, Okinawa - The Navy women’s and the Air Force men’s teams were victorious Wednesday at the 36th Naha Hari dragon boat races.

Hundreds of spectators crammed Tomari Port to cheer as more than a dozen teams of 32 people paddled 50-foot-long boats through the waters.

Japanese and U.S. military teams competed in heats of three boats, all brightly painted and resembling mythical sea dragons.

"It was tiring and extremely rewarding," Army Spec. Ernest Bragg said moments after he and his Torii Nights teammates won their heat over two local teams in a time of 5 minutes, 53 seconds. However, when all the heats were finished, the Army team found itself third. The Air Force team paddled to the finish in 5 minutes, 32 seconds, and was followed eight seconds later by the Navy team. The Marine men’s team finished in 6 minutes, 9 seconds.

"It was a great experience, and it’s been a lot of fun each year I’ve competed," said Army 1st Lt. Francis D’Allura, the Torii Nights coach who’s participated the past three years and is ready to do it again next year.

The Army women’s coach, Tonja Wadsworth, said she was proud of her team of active-duty soldiers, spouses and Department of Defense civilians. Placing third behind the Navy and Air Force didn’t detract from a great effort, she said.

"I wouldn’t have done anything different," she said, adding that the team will start practicing again in February.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up