Seabees Support Special Olympics

By NMCB 3 Public Affairs

13th annual KSO kicks off with opening ceremony

Tatsuyuki Higa, the torch runner of the 13th annual Kadena Special Olympics, lights the KSO torch during the opening ceremonies on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 17, 2012. The Kadena Special Olympics is a one-day sporting and entertainment event with nearly 900 special needs athletes and artists participating in a day of competition, music and special recognition. Some of the events featured this year include: running events, wheelchair events, tennis, basketball, floor hockey demonstration, and many other track and field events. An art exhibit showcasing the artwork of 520 special-needs artists was open for viewing at the Risner Gym throughout the day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Laszlo Babocsi)

More than 70 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 joined thousands of other service members, volunteers, supporters and athletes gathered at Kadena Air Base’s Risner Sports Complex, Okinawa, Japan, to kick off the 16th annual Kadena Special Olympics (KSO), Nov. 7.

Military personnel from Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army, cheered and offered tips to athletes as they coached side-by-side with parents and other volunteers.

Each participant was paired with an athlete’s buddy who was designated to watch over and support the player throughout the various sport activities.

“It was fun and exciting,” said Builder Constructionman Anthony Harris. “I have volunteered for the Special Olympics before, but this was the largest I’ve been to. I have a younger brother with special needs so it was exciting to see the community support.”

A week prior to the event, 16 Seabees volunteered over 50 hours to set up 1,000 chairs, 120 tables and 37 tents to host nearly 900 athletes and their supporters.

“It was an awesome experience working with the host nation,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Andy Martindale. “It was an honor to help host the 16th annual Kadena Special Olympics.”

KSO was established by the 18th Wing Commander in 1999 as an avenue to build relations with neighboring communities and local government representatives while providing a meaningful activity for the special needs children and adults.

Seabees assigned to Okinawa are consistently called upon to assist the annual KSO and are critical to the event’s success.

NMCB 3 is deployed throughout the Pacific performing critical construction projects in remote areas such as Timor-Leste, Cambodia and the Philippines. The teams are also conducting operations in Yokosuka, Sasebo, Fuji, and Okinawa, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea and San Clemente, Calif.

1,500 athletes, artists participate in 13th annual KSO

Koki Moromi, a special-needs athlete, receives a first-place gold medal from Col. Jeffrey Ullman, 18th Mission Support commander, after placing first in the 200-meter dash event during the Kadena Special Olympics on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 17, 2012. The Kadena Special Olympics is a one-day sporting and entertainment event with more than 1,500 athletes special needs athletes and artists participating in a day of competition, music and special recognition. Some of the events featured this year include: running events, wheelchair events, tennis, basketball, floor hockey demonstration, and many other track and field events. An art exhibit showcasing the artwork of nearly 600 special-needs artists was open for viewing at the Risner Gym throughout the day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Davis)


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