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NEWS | March 13, 2015

USNA Hosts Japan Homeport Night

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Caswell, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) hosted a Japan "Homeport Night" for the class of 2015's future surface warfare officers (SWO) in Dahlgren Hall, March 11.

This special "Homeport Night" was for the future SWOs who selected ships homeported in Japan. USNA SWOs, who were stationed in Japan, provided the midshipmen insight to the unique culture of Japan.

"This night allows the midshipman heading to Japan, an introduction to the culture," said Lt. Matthew Harmon, 19th Company officer. "They see some of the food they will be eating, hear about customs and can get a little more familiarized with where will essentially be their home for the next few years."

"Homeport Night" is an opportunity for the SWOs on the Yard to share with midshipmen advice on where to live, available activities, cost of living, and many other details that the midshipmen may not be thinking about.

"Going from one country to another is a huge step, especially when you will be living there," said Lt. Travis Snover, 14th Company officer. "We want to be able to give them some solid insider information. Whether it's places to eat, things to get involved with or visit, we want to try to build up some of the confidence and ease some of the uncertainty, so these newly commissioned officers can stay focused now, and on their careers."

The event also provided an opportunity for the midshipmen headed to Japan to network with each other.

"I get to see everyone that will be going with me," said Midshipman 1st Class Carl Ted Blanco. "We are all building comradery with each other and it's great because there is that level of 'I don't know' and it will be better, knowing that everyone here will be going through the same thing. It helps take away the strangeness of being somewhere new."

Cmdr. Masato Murakoshi, Languages and Culture Department instructor, reminded the 25 midshipmen in attendance of the important role the U.S. played four years ago when Japan was hit by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

"It was people like you, which helped Japan recover from that tragic event," said Murakshi. "Those U.S. personnel rose to the occasion, and without question came to our need. You are now going to fill those shoes; a lot is expected of you."

For these midshipmen, the culminating four years at USNA is just the beginning of their journey.

"I'm really excited and kind of scared at the same time," said Midshipman 1st Class Jonathan Makona. "I love to travel, I want to see other cultures and it's all just starting. Spending four years here makes me want to go and be able to see the world and start my career. I want to get to Japan and do the best I can to my ability, for myself and everyone around me."
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