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Chief Petty Officer Bill Covington, from the operations aerology division of the USS Essex, plays a video game Friday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bowling Center with a youngster from the Koyo Ryou Childrens’ Home in nearby Omura City.

Chief Petty Officer Bill Covington, from the operations aerology division of the USS Essex, plays a video game Friday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bowling Center with a youngster from the Koyo Ryou Childrens’ Home in nearby Omura City. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

Chief Petty Officer Bill Covington, from the operations aerology division of the USS Essex, plays a video game Friday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bowling Center with a youngster from the Koyo Ryou Childrens’ Home in nearby Omura City.

Chief Petty Officer Bill Covington, from the operations aerology division of the USS Essex, plays a video game Friday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bowling Center with a youngster from the Koyo Ryou Childrens’ Home in nearby Omura City. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

A youngster from the Koyo Ryou Children’s Home lets a bowling ball fly toward the pins at Friday afternoon’s bowling and ice cream party.

A youngster from the Koyo Ryou Children’s Home lets a bowling ball fly toward the pins at Friday afternoon’s bowling and ice cream party. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — One group of USS Essex sailors chose to fill their role as U.S. ambassadors here by interacting with underprivileged children at a bowling and ice cream party on Friday.

The event provided three hours of fun for them and about two dozen youths from Koyo Ryou Children’s Home in nearby Omura City.

The amphibious assault ship’s aerology division sponsored the gathering, Chief Petty Officer Bill Covington said as he and one of the children took turns playing a video game.

“We preach about being ambassadors here. I mean we really drill on that,” Covington said. “For us, what better way to show that ambassadorship? It really makes an impact when you reach out to kids.”

Between the thud of bowling balls falling from the grip of first-time bowlers and the crack of smaller pool table balls, Petty Officer 3rd Class C.T. Huey smiled all afternoon.

“It really makes me feel good. The children are tomorrow. We have to invest in them now,” said the Hooks, Texas, native.

“The Japanese help us by providing this place for us to operate,” he said. “So it feels good when we help their community by showing the kids we are helpful people and not people they should wish were not in their country.”

Covington said the idea for Friday’s party began about two months ago when “we started looking for opportunities for the division to do some things together aside from our work.”

“This is an idea from that brainstorming,” he said. “It’s good for the unit’s cohesion to do things like this together.”


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