CAMP COURNTEY, OKINAWA, Japan -- Soldiers from the Japan Self-Defense Force presented 1,000 paper cranes to Sgt. Maj. Mario A. Marquez, the III Marine Expeditionary Force sergeant major, and members of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force on Dec. 20, 2017 at the Battle of Okinawa monument in Okinawa, Japan. The 1,000 paper cranes were presented as a symbol of good fortune, happiness and a long life for Master Sgt. Hector Trujillo, who was injured at the scene of an accident on the Okinawa Expressway Dec. 1, 2017.
The ceremony for Trujillo began with the explanation of the 1,000 paper cranes and what it symbolizes in the Japanese culture. The folding of 1,000 paper cranes is part of traditional customs and is typically sent to those who are ill or injured as a prayer of recovery. Members of the 15th Brigade, Western Army, JSDF, presented handmade paper cranes to Marquez and wished Trujillo a speedy recovery.
“Even though we are in different uniforms we have mutual feelings as comrades,” said Warrant Officer Katsunori Taira, the 51st Infantry Regimental Command sergeant major. “We have a friendship, and we will always pray for him.”
Marquez received the gift and said the ceremony was a touching gesture for the Marine Corps.
“It is an honor to receive the gift and I am humbled to have the Japan Self-Defense Force take their personal time to put together 1,000 cranes for our Marine, Master Sergeant Trujillo, and his family,” said Marquez, a native of Lakewood, California. “It was special for them to set a date and deliver the gift in person.”
Marquez also expressed his gratitude towards other Marines who were at the scene when the accident took place. According to Marquez, the actions of the Marines at the scene of the accident played a large part in saving Trujillo’s life.