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Uruma City hosts ceremony for Drive Safe Campaign

22 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Brandon Suhr

URUMA, Japan - The sight of brightly colored reflective safety vests signaled the festive start of the Safe-driving campaign to Uruma City residents and U.S. service members.

Senior leaders of Camps Courtney and McTureous attended the opening ceremony of the 2013 Okinawa Drive Safe Campaign July 9 at the Uruma City Police Station.

The 2013 Okinawa Drive Safe Campaign is designed to promote driver safety both on Camps Courtney and McTureous and off base in Uruma City.

“I’m glad that the service members were able to join our opening ceremony,” said Naoya Tamaki, a police lieutenant with the traffic section of the Uruma City Police Station. “It is not often that military personnel are able to attend the opening ceremony.”

The service members attended the opening ceremony to represent how the two-week campaign helps reduce the number of traffic accidents for both the local community and the U.S. service members.

“It is always great to attend and help at any event associated with the community of Uruma City,” said 1st Lt. Andrew K. Williams, the camp operations officer for Camps Courtney and McTureous. “Attending the 2013 Okinawa Drive Safe Campaign’s opening ceremony emphasizes the importance of safe driving on and off base.”

The ceremony consisted of traditional dances by children and remarks by several representatives of the community and Camps Courtney and McTureous. 

The Marine Corps’ commitment to being a good neighbor means seizing every opportunity to talk to the Marines about the importance of safe driving, according to Col. Michael W. Taylor, the Camps Courtney and McTureous commander.

“Our efforts are a part of the ‘safety first, safety always’ campaign, which continuously highlights safety programs throughout Marine Corps units on Okinawa,” said Taylor. “While it is important to be vigilant and practice safe driving on base, it is equally as important to do the same within the local communities.”

“Safety first, safety always” is a III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific campaign that focuses on safety programs pertaining to all personnel and family members within the unit.

“This drive-safe campaign is important because any time someone gets behind the wheel while distracted or impaired, they are running the risk of seriously injuring themselves or others,” said Taylor.

While Marines have participated in local events before, it is important for everyone to see that the safe-driving campaign is not only for the local community but for those in the military as well, according to Tamaki.

“It was good to have the service members participate in the opening ceremony,” said Tamaki. “Many of the community members recognize that the service members are also taking this seriously and are working to make the community a safer place.”

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