Pacific-based troops can mark Memorial Day with solemn ceremonies, fun activities
Stars and Stripes May 25, 2023
Memorial Day for Americans means a mix of solemnity and celebration, of ceremonies and sun. In the Pacific, U.S. military commands and their service members will take time out for both this weekend.
On Hawaii, Memorial Day means the 72nd annual mayor’s ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also called the Punchbowl, which begins “promptly” at 8:30 a.m. Monday, according to the city and county of Honolulu. It’s sponsoring the ceremony with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The event will include speeches and tributes, a Hawaiian chant, an F-22 flyover, the playing of taps and band and hula performances, according to the Honolulu government website.
The city encourages visits to individual graves on Saturday or Sunday, or Monday afternoon to reduce traffic congestion at the cemetery.
Memorial Day ceremonies scheduled for Monday include events at Camp Humphreys, headquarters of U.S. Forces Korea south of Seoul, and Camp Zama, headquarters of U.S. Army Japan near Tokyo. Humphreys’ ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. at the USFK headquarters building; Camp Zama’s begins at 8:30 a.m. at building 505 near the main chapel.
The U.S. military in the Pacific also provides opportunities for its members to set aside their duties and enjoy three or four days of liberty.
Camp Humphreys’ Morale, Welfare and Recreation office will host the Memorial Day Murph Workout Challenge on Saturday. The Murph was conceived by the CrossFit company in honor of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats and a final 1-mile run. Participants typically wear a 20-pound weight vest or body armor for the challenge, but it’s optional.
Also Saturday, the Indianhead Golf Course at Camp Casey in South Korea is hosting a Memorial Day golf tournament. Entry fees vary and can be found at casey.armymwr.com.
On Monday, the 8th Force Support Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, has a bowling tournament scheduled at the Take It North Bowling Center. There is a $10 entry fee.
In Japan, the 35th Force Support Squadron at Misawa Air Base is holding a Memorial Day Triathlon on Saturday. Preregistration forms can be found at 35fss.com.
Yokosuka Naval Base has a trip scheduled to Osaka, hikes to Aokigahara and Ogawayama and on-base events, including a PlayStation 5 NBA 2K23 tournament and a free buffet at the Fleet Rec Center. More events and information can be found at navymwryokosuka.com.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni has events scheduled all weekend through the Single Marine Program, including a sunset paddle on the Nishiki River, a trip to 99 Islands Pearl Sea Resort in Sasebo and an excursion to the Shimonoseki Aquarium.
Other events at the air station include a summer kick-off pool party at the Waterworks Outdoor Pool and karaoke at the Hangar E-Club. Information can be found at iwakuni.usmc-mccs.org.
On Okinawa, the Marine Corps’ Camp Foster has scheduled a deep-sea fishing trip, an excursion to the Okinawa World theme park, the Habu Museum and a Yanbaru Mangrove kayaking tour.
Foster also scheduled a high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workout on Friday and a 5k memorial run on Saturday. Further information on those events is available at okinawa.usmc-mccs.org.