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Yokota airmen experience life at sea

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- Three Yokota airmen chosen recently to experience life at sea, have returned to dry land.

The trip, offered by U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet command was a program designed to give junior servicemembers in the Army and Air Force a chance to interact with sailors in similar career fields on board a Navy warship at sea.

The program, started by 7th Fleet Command Master Chief Timothy Moon, is intended for E-5s and below who are matched up with a running mate in the same pay grade and line of work.

The USS Blue Ridge provided the participants the same living conditions and liberties as the sailors, as they lived the same daily routine at sea.

"We were able to see the difference between how the two branches live, and it generated more respect for them," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Yardley, from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron.

"The quarters were very tight, stacked bunks housing 50 sailors with only three showers. Although the quarters were always clean and well taken care of, they gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for the Air Force's accommodations," said Airman 1st Class Joseph Kordish, from the 374th Communications Squadron. "Eventually, I got used to it and was able to appreciate it more, and (I) realized the necessity of the living conditions is due to the nature of the Navy's operations."

Kordish, an information protection operator who works on Yokota's firewall network security, was matched up with an information systems technician that works in the local area network shop, equal to Yokota's Network Control Center.

The ship made port visits to Otaru, Japan, and Hong Kong before returning to Yokosuka. Participants agreed some of the best moments were seeing the Sapporo Mountains snow festival and stopping in Hong Kong for four days.

"It was very educational since you don't normally get to see how the other branches get to live," said Kordish. "It's given me a sense of outstanding respect for the Navy." (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces News Service)

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