OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors from guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) cleaned Heshikeya Beach in White Beach, Okinawa, by picking up trash and other debris during a port visit Nov. 13.
The ship's presence at the festival was in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan.
Three dozen Sailors scoured the beach, filling nearly 50 trash bags with garbage in support of the White Beach Festival.
"It's pretty much everyone's mess and I greatly appreciate what you Sailors did here today," said Miesno Nishishinya, the local district representative. "As the district representative, I truly hope that people from this district can establish a good relationship with the U.S. Navy."
Many of crew member assigned to Stethem commented that the project was an opportunity for them to take time out and do something helpful for the Japanese community in Okinawa.
"Community service projects like these are good for the spirit," said Stethem Operations Officer Lt. Lamont Gavin. "After a busy underway period, it's wonderful to have a chance to focus on doing something positive for the community."
The beach clean-up was just one of many activities that Stethem participated in. Stethem also offered ship tours to local leaders and media as well as the general public.
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Ryan Barbaria's said the beach clean-up was the best part of the festival.
"Coming out and cleaning up this beautiful beach really made me feel good about what I do," said Barbaria. "I got to give back to the community in my own small way, and it was obvious that our efforts were appreciated."
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