Yokosuka sailors upset that violence reflects on Navy
July 8, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Around the base, reactions to another violent incident involving Americans and their Japanese hosts ranged from anger and disappointment to bewilderment.
In January 2006 a USS Kitty Hawk sailor, since convicted in Japanese court, beat to death a woman near the base after robbing her.
Currently, a 55-year-old Navy civilian employee is on trial for allegedly pushing a Japanese man who fell and suffered fatal injuries in an incident at an area bar in November.
And on Thursday a 19-year-old USS Gary sailor was arrested on suspicion of stabbing a Japanese woman and teenage girl at an apartment where police say they spent the previous night.
Military spouse Wendae Stewart said she isn’t really shocked by incidents like the stabbing anymore.
“Some of these sailors come here so young. I just don’t think many of them are ready to live here,” she said. “It’s really sad to say, but they just aren’t responsible enough.
“They get over here and it’s just too much,” Stewart said. “It’s like we are losing something in translation.”
Lt. Eric Hollis, beginning his third tour in Japan, has been in the Navy for 23 years. He said he thinks part of problem is that too many young sailors seem to lack the discipline and restraint to not resort to violence.
“I don’t know if it is a reflection on society or our children’s upbringing or even the environment they are in, but there is a real problem somewhere,” Hollis said. “Things like this reflect poorly on the Navy and our entire nation.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Milton Styron, a Navy counselor stationed aboard the USS Lassen, echoed Hollis.
“This really makes all of us look bad,” Styron said. “The Japanese are such a cultured people and this was such a violent crime.”
Said a visibly angry petty officer first class, who declined to be named: “I think the kid was just a punk who probably didn’t even want to be here. Some of these kids come over here and think they can do anything they want. They are ruining things for everyone.”