Currently in the beautiful country of Japan, our experience so far with the Miami Marlins “troops visit” has been spectacular. Not only has the trip been a real culture shock, it also has been a true blessing to be across the world with such amazing men and women in the armed forces. With Captain John Gilleland by our side since day one, scheduling and planning the different meet and greets for the group, it has been a pleasure traveling with a marine himself. So far, the Miami Marlins players and Mermaids, along with front office personnel, have been to three different bases in Japan. “Yokota” Air Force Base, “Camp Zama” Army Base and “Yokosuka” Naval Base were the locations visited as of today.
At Yokota Air Force Base, there were three special events with the troops that we had the chance to participate in. We visited and toured the Yokota Fire Department, where we met a few men who greatly appreciated our visit. We mingled, and really got to see up front what it’s like to deal with fire emergencies and situations that occur. Another fun activity was a signing at the grand opening of an on-base Mexican restaurant called “Banzai Burrito”. There were many family members and children so excited to greet us there and it made us extremely happy to spend time with the actual family members who are out here in Japan supporting their relatives in the armed forces.
At the other two bases, the mermaids had the opportunity to teach two dance clinics and spend time with some young cheerleaders, and teen cheerleaders, from Kinnick High School. The girls and couple of boys were so appreciative of our presence at their school and had continuous fun with the dances we taught and performed. It was our pleasure to actually see what the children of the troops could do dance-wise. And it was even more fun to perform with them and make their day a special one.
On the naval base of Yokosuka, the best experience so far on the trip, was touring the enormous USS George Washington ship. The ship was incredible. It holds 6,000 men and women and can pretty much be called a “city on water”. We all had the opportunity to eat lunch and mingle with the navy on the ship. We were so happy to sign autographs for them and do something as simple as pictures and giving them Marlins apparel. They greatly appreciated us. I personally had a moment of shock on the ship because I actually reunited with a friend named Eddy from high school! It was so amazing to see a familiar face so far away from home, and to know that he was safe and well, fighting for our country along with the others.
So far, our experience on this trip has been like no other! It has been so great to greet the men and women in the troops at these bases. We appreciate them so much and can’t wait to continue this adventure overseas. Stay tuned!