An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 14, 2014

15th Annual Kadena Special Olympics Brings Community Together

By Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris 18th Wing Public Affairs

The 15th Annual Kadena Special Olympics, one of the largest community relations events in Okinawa, Japan, with nearly 950 athletes and artists combined, was held at the Risner Fitness Center here Nov. 8.

The event kicked off with an opening ceremony where the athletes heard words of encouragement. Afterward a KSO athlete lit the torch, signaling the games to begin.

"Today is a special day for me since my own family has long believed in the importance of the Special Olympics movement," said Caroline Kennedy, ambassador of the United States to Japan. "My Aunt Eunis, the founder of Special Olympics, would be so proud to see all of you here today ready to compete and eager to win, because she was a competitor herself. I commend the Japanese government for taking action to build an inclusive society, and I commend you athletes for leading the way. Special Olympics is about sport and is a vehicle for changing attitudes all over the world, and that's what you athletes will do here in Okinawa, change Japan."

More than 2,500 volunteers from different branches of the U.S. military and the local community helped put the KSO together. The volunteers helped with translations, medal presentations, logistical and medical support, and food preparation and distribution.

"As you walk around today, take a look at the athletes; we can all learn from them," said Brig. Gen. James B. Hecker, 18th Wing commander. "You'll see the innocence in their face, you'll see their competitive spirit, you'll see the courage they have, and you'll see the way they treat one another. I think we can all learn from our Special Olympians."

Throughout the day, athletes competed in a variety of events, including track and field, soccer, ground golf and tennis. Artists also displayed their art in the gallery held inside the RFC.

"This event is important for two reasons -- it is a tremendous outreach and it brings in a group of wonderful adults [who] have special needs that we can celebrate," said Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, 7th Air Force commander. "When you see the smile on the athletes' faces and when they get their medals, it just makes all the work that went into it worthwhile."

Despite the rain throughout the day, everyone gave their all to make this event memorable. At the end of the day, athletes were proudly displaying their medals and smiling while looking forward to coming back next year.

In closing U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella said, "I have been watching some of the events, and the athletes are just doing fantastic. I am proud of all the volunteers, the people, the private organizations and especially proud the athletes for making this day possible."

KSO was first held in 2000 as an avenue to build relations with neighboring communities, while providing a meaningful activity for the special needs children and adults.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
355,530
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Hosts Brunei for Bilateral Defense Agreement
Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Sklenka, deputy commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosted Dato Alirupendi, permanent secretary ministry of defense, State of Brunei Darussalam, at USINDOPACOM headquarters on Dec. 7, 2023, for the 16th joint defence working committee and the signing of the Section 505 Agreement. The bilateral engagement further builds upon the cooperation and interoperability between the two countries, codifies the exchange of diplomatic notes and assets, and demonstrates USINDOPACOM’s commitment to its Allies and partners to help ensure a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Riel)
Dec. 8, 2023 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Sklenka, deputy commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosted Dato Alirupendi, permanent secretary ministry of defence, State of Brunei Darussalam, at USINDOPACOM headquarters on...

International observers in multinational harmony at Operation Christmas Drop 2023
Republic of Korea Air Force Staff Sgt. Namseok Jeong, 259th Squadron rigger, participates in an Operation Christmas Drop 2023 (OCD 23) international forces bundle rigging event, Dec. 5, 2023, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The International Observer Program for OCD 23 featured forces from Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Interoperability and teamwork with our partner nations ensures we collectively remain ready for whenever and wherever the next disaster strikes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Taylor Altier)
Dec. 8, 2023 - Operation Christmas Drop 2023 has officially transcended its annual mission of spreading Christmas joy through humanitarian airdrop. What began as a humble charitable initiative has evolved into a multinational effort,...

U.S. Coast Guard conducts security boarding at Port of Guam, bolstering maritime security
A U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boarding Team, a key component of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, conducts a thorough security boarding of the 380-foot (116-meter) motor vessel Papa Mau, flagged from Antigua Barbuda, at the Port of Guam on Dec. 6, 2023. This general cargo vessel, arriving from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), was meticulously inspected upon reaching Guam and found to be in full compliance. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Brian Maffucci)
Dec. 8, 2023 - The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boarding Team, a key component of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, conducted a thorough security boarding of the 380-foot (116-meter) motor vessel Papa Mau, flagged from Antigua...

Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office to Host Hackathon in Hawaii
Dec. 7, 2023 - The Office of the Secretary of Defense Chief Digital and AI Office, Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command and the U.S. Air Force will host a multi-classification hackathon open to all...

Dongducheon/Casey host second cooperation council engagement
South Korea - Dongducheon City Mayor Park Hyeon-deok and United States Army Garrison (USAG) Yongsan-Casey Commander Col. Lloyd Brown co-chaired the second Korean-American Cooperation Council hosted at Dongducheon City Hall, Dec. 6. The goal of the Dongducheon/USAG Yongsan-Casey council is to promote cultural exchanges, cooperation and generate mutual understanding between both communities, together with the U.S. Forces Korea and 8th Army guidance to help strengthen partnerships. (Photo Courtesy by Dongducheon City)
Dec. 7, 2023 - Dongducheon City Mayor Park Hyeon-deok and United States Army Garrison (USAG) Yongsan-Casey Commander Col. Loyd Brown co-chaired the second Korean-American Cooperation Council (KACC) hosted at Dongducheon City Hall, Dec. 6...