Sasebo, Japan—Armed Forces Entertainment HEAVY Medal III came ashore for Day 8 at COMFLEACT Sasebo for a visit with sailors, a trip back to school, spare time and an evening spent socializing with troops.
After a breakfast at the Harbor Cafe that set the team up for the morning, Olympians Kaylin Richardson, Sean Colgan, Caroline Lalive and Nelson Carmichael observed the tradition morning ceremony of raising the Japan and the United States flags over the base. Immediately after this early morning tradition, the team made a quick visit to the Fitness Center to say thanks to those that were up just as early for physical training.
A young lieutenant from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 5, Detachment 51, invited the team for a visit. Lalive and Richardson donned 60 to 70 pound bomb disposal ordnance suits much like real life Hurt Lockers. Bundled in the full suit, the ladies were all smiles as they were put through some basic physical maneuvers.
“It was all fun and games for us today,” said Caroline Lalive. “However, the real life purpose of the suit and the dangers these individuals face in doing their job around the world really hit home from inside of it.”
In their spare time after joining the bomb squad, the team hit the bowling lanes with members from the USS Denver (LPD9), an amphibious transport dock ship stationed in Sasebo. Pins, strikes and spares were flying across the electronic scoreboards as these sailors celebrated a day on the lanes after scoring a 98% on a recent inspection.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic sent the HEAVY Medal back to their early years in elementary and high school. Assemblies at Sasebo Elementary and EJ King High School provided a flurry of hard-hitting questions from all ages and grades from favorite foods & sports to advice on inspiration, teamwork and dedication.
“One thing we tried to convey as a group is that the possibilities are limitless, with hard work and determination you can accomplish anything” said Richardson. “The question, what inspired us, is fitting because after this trip the dedication and sacrifice shown by service families has definitely left its mark on me.”
The evening ended at Galaxies, the base hangout for sailors. The Olympians shared stories with service members, talked about life in the Navy and Sasebo and gave up their medals, Olympic rings and National Champion belt buckles for photos.
“No matter where we have been on the tour, the reception has been the same, so welcoming and so open,” said Nelson Carmichael “From my conversations the sailors really enjoy Japan and the area surrounding Sasebo and I can see why from my brief visit.”