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Susan Marin, wife of the USS Gary commanding officer, decorates the command’s Christmas tree at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Yokosuka residents come together each year to decorate Christmas trees from each of the facility’s commands.
Susan Marin, wife of the USS Gary commanding officer, decorates the command’s Christmas tree at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Yokosuka residents come together each year to decorate Christmas trees from each of the facility’s commands. (Jim Schulz / S&S)
Susan Marin, wife of the USS Gary commanding officer, decorates the command’s Christmas tree at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Yokosuka residents come together each year to decorate Christmas trees from each of the facility’s commands.
Susan Marin, wife of the USS Gary commanding officer, decorates the command’s Christmas tree at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Yokosuka residents come together each year to decorate Christmas trees from each of the facility’s commands. (Jim Schulz / S&S)
Cmdr. Brant Pickrell, Naval Facility Engineering Command Far East executive officer, decks the command’s Christmas tree with construction items signifying its purpose on the base.
Cmdr. Brant Pickrell, Naval Facility Engineering Command Far East executive officer, decks the command’s Christmas tree with construction items signifying its purpose on the base. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Members of the First Class Association from the USS Gary found just the right lights to make their tree unique.

“I said, ‘we need to be a little creative,’” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Tony Cloud, who spearheaded the ship’s entry.

“I knew no one would have blue ones.”

He looked off base for his decorations.

The gang from Navy Facilities Engineering Command Far East used symbols from their job — a hardhat for a tree topper, cut-out tools and yellow “caution” tape.

“It’s getting into the holiday spirit,” said Sam Roundtree, the business manager at Navfac, a new command that took over for Public Works this summer.

Carrying on a long Yokosuka tradition, a few hundred people from more than 40 commands came together Wednesday to partake in a potluck dinner and create the centerpieces for the base Festival of Trees, a community showcase that runs over the weekend.

Each command received a tree.

Some used traditional ornaments while others, like Navfac, used symbols representing what they do.

Yokosuka’s Fleet Imaging Center decked its tree with rolls of glittery film and camera-equipment boxes underneath.

The Boy Scouts had tiny Scout figurines and the Seventh Fleet incorporated flags from countries throughout the fleet’s area of operations.

The festival is a chance for the community to celebrate together — first as they decorate and then during the two-day festival, which is open to everyone.

“It’s a great time,” Roundtree said.

“You do fellowship with the other commands and something nice. I mean, decorating a tree — who doesn’t love doing that?”

“For us, it gives us a chance to advertise, to do something that’s unique to us,” said Cmdr. Brant Pickrell, Navfac’s executive officer.

Just hours after pulling back into port, several servicemembers from the USS Vandegrift were sprucing up their tree with decorations made by crewmembers’ spouses and children.

Crew members weren’t sure if they’d be back in time for the decorating. They just made it.

The festival, said Command Master Chief Donald Snider, “helps people … get to know each other. It’s for the entire family.”

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