Two Yokosuka Firefighters Honored at Award Ceremony

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) — The admiral in charge of all naval installations in Navy Region Japan presented awards to what he described as two “well-deserving” firefighters, at a ceremony on board U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, June 29.

Rear Adm. Greg Fenton, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan and Navy Region Japan, presented Training Drill Master Akinori Chiba with the 2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Fire Instructor of the Year Award. The honor — presented on behalf of Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander of Navy Installations Command – reflects a long list of accomplishments, including preparing 126 firefighters for possible emergencies during the upcoming Olympics and Rugby World Cup in Tokyo.

“When you think about just the number of Navy activities, that’s a pretty great accomplishment,” Fenton said of Chiba being recognized at the DoD level. “But now when you throw in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and all of the installations that are protected by those firefighting services, this is really a tremendous accomplishment.”

At the ceremony, which was held at Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNRJ) Fire and Emergency Services in Yokosuka, Fenton also presented the Life Saving Award to Crew Chief Tomoyuki Yamada for saving a 9-year-old girl who was choking on a piece of candy.

“The child recovered from that and is doing fine, but it’s that kind of thinking and training; having the ability to apply it when it needed to be applied,” Fenton said. “He definitely contributed to saving this child’s life.

Before the award ceremony began, both Chiba and Yamada looked back on the events that got them where they are today and recognized the important role their team played.

Yamada arrived at the scene of the little girl choking, performed the Heimlich Maneuver and, when that didn’t work, administered back blows until the candy was dislodged. But he noted how the Emergency Medical Team and fire crew also responded to the scene to help the little girl.

“It’s not just me. It’s teamwork,” he said through his colleague Chiba, who translated.

Chiba — a training drill master who has brought city firefighters, ship forces and base firefighters together for joint training and developed a Japan region wide rope rescue course — agreed. He said he is “happy” about the DoD Fire Instructor of the Year Award, but recognized that he has a team who “helps me and takes care of me.”

The sentiment was echoed in Fenton’s speech, when he said a firefighter’s job can’t happen “without everyone on the team wanting to come to work, wanting to be the best professionals that they can in their duties — whether they’re on the front line, driving fire trucks or back in the building dealing with administrative processes or other things.”

At the end of the day, the team is proud of their accomplishments.

“I’d like to say I’ve always felt like the luckiest person in the best shop because I have great people,” said Yokosuka Fire Chief Richard Henderson. “This year, we have five Navy-level awards and a Department of Defense award, and we always get several life-saving awards. These are the most professional people I’ve ever worked with and it’s a huge honor for me to be here. It’s like a dream come true.”

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.

For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfay/.

Article source: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=106171

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