SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The former commanding officer of U.S. Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan, received the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun from Japan's Chief of Maritime Self-Defense Forces, at the Pentagon, July 2.
Navy Capt. Tilghman D. Payne received the award from Adm. Keiji Akahoshi for his work in building relationships between United States and Japanese Forces.
"I am very honored and privileged to receive this award. My tour is Japan was, thus far, the most personally and professionally rewarding tour I've had in the Navy," said Payne when addressing Akahoshi and guests in both Japanese and English.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Rear Adm. James D. Kelly, joined Payne's family, including Payne's father, a retired Navy captain, at the ceremony. Kelly described the award as "well-deserved."
"[Payne] was the best base commander I ever had the pleasure of working with," Kelly said.
After presenting the award, Akahoshi praised Payne and his family.
"We are really true friends," Akahoshi said.
The Order of the Rising Sun is Japan's second most prestigious decoration behind the Order of the Chrysanthemum. It is awarded in the name of the Emperor of Japan and administered by the prime minister's office. Payne received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, which represents the third highest of eight classes associated with the award.
For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfas/.