The United States Army

06/14/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/14/2024 00:26

USAG Japan completes three-peat in Commander’s Cup contest

[Link] 1 / 2Show Caption +Hide Caption -Col. Marcus Hunter, right, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, and other garrison team members accept the Commander's Cup trophy during an awards ceremony at Camp Zama, Japan, June 12, 2024. The garrison team completed a three-peat of the Commander's Cup program for its consistent performance in 25 different fitness and sports events. (Photo Credit: Fumiaki Tabuchi, U.S. Army Japan Public Affairs)VIEW ORIGINAL[Link] 2 / 2Show Caption +Hide Caption -Col. Marcus Hunter, left, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, accepts the Commander's Cup trophy from Col. Terry A. Butcher, deputy commander of U.S. Army Japan, during an awards ceremony at Camp Zama, Japan, June 12, 2024. The garrison team won the trophy for the third year in a row for its consistent performance in 25 different fitness and sports events. (Photo Credit: Fumiaki Tabuchi, U.S. Army Japan Public Affairs)VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan - U.S. Army Garrison Japan won the Commander's Cup for the third year in a row Wednesday for its consistent performance in 25 different fitness and sports events.

Throughout the year, 12 teams vied for points in the competition, which included 13 individual events, six one-day team events, six regular season sports events and six postseason tournaments.

The garrison team was the only team to compete in every single event. The unit went on to win eight of those and earned a total of 271 points, outscoring U.S. Army Medical Department Activity - Japan by 35 points, while the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion took third place.

"Obviously this is a fun event," Col. Marcus Hunter, commander of USAG Japan, said of the annual program. "Everybody gets to do it throughout the year and it's one way in which we build camaraderie."

The purpose of the Commander's Cup is to develop esprit de corps and teamwork in the community, while supplementing mandatory physical training with voluntary sports and athletic activities.

Hunter and other garrison team members received this year's trophy during an awards ceremony at Yano Sports Field, closing out Camp Zama's Army Week activities that celebrated the Army's 249th birthday.

The colonel then thanked the Soldiers, civilians, family members, local national employees and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members who took part in the competition.

"I do want to say congratulations to all the units and everybody that participated, not just the garrison as a unit, but really as our community," Hunter told the crowd. "It's a lot of fun and I appreciate being able to go and see the incredible participation across all the units."

[Link] 1 / 5Show Caption +Hide Caption -Juwan Russell, a member of the U.S. Army Garrison Japan team, goes in for a layup against a defender during a basketball tournament at Yano Fitness Center as part of the Commander's Cup program at Camp Zama, Japan, Feb. 27, 2024. USAG Japan recently won the yearlong program for the third year in a row. (Photo Credit: Tim Flack)VIEW ORIGINAL[Link] 2 / 5Show Caption +Hide Caption -Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, competes in a team swim relay event at Yano Fitness Center as part of the Commander's Cup program at Camp Zama, Japan, Feb. 27, 2024. USAG Japan recently won the yearlong program for the third year in a row. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo)VIEW ORIGINAL[Link] 3 / 5Show Caption +Hide Caption -A competitor participates in the "SWOLE Push and Pull" bench press and deadlift competition inside Yano Fitness Center at Camp Zama, Japan, Dec. 6, 2023. The event was part of the Commander's Cup program, which the U.S. Army Garrison Japan team recently won for the third year in a row. (Photo Credit: Dustin Perry)VIEW ORIGINAL[Link] 4 / 5Show Caption +Hide Caption -A tennis player competes in a tournament as part of the Commander's Cup program at Camp Zama, Japan, March 2, 2024. The U.S. Army Garrison Japan team recently won the yearlong program for the third year in a row. (Photo Credit: Tim Flack)VIEW ORIGINAL[Link] 5 / 5Show Caption +Hide Caption -U.S. Army Garrison Japan team members compete in a volleyball tournament at Yano Fitness Center as part of the Commander's Cup program at Camp Zama, Japan, May 21, 2024. USAG Japan recently won the yearlong program for the third year in a row. (Photo Credit: Dustin Perry)VIEW ORIGINAL

Hunter accepted the trophy alongside two of the garrison's honorary MVPs - Dustin Perry and Yuumi Imazato, both assigned to the garrison's Public Affairs Office.

Among her individual achievements, Imazato competed in 12 events and took first in the women's category during the home run derby, free throw and 3-point contests.

She also placed second in pickleball, which she just started playing last year. It quickly become her favorite sport, she said.

"Participating in the program allowed me to experience sports that I had never experienced before," she said. "Through this program, I was able to meet new friends and enjoy sports together as one team."

"If there is even one sport that interests you, please join us," she said she likes to tell others in the garrison. "Let's have fun together."

Pfc. Zion Dixon, assigned to the Religious Support Office, competed for the garrison team in the dodgeball, kickball and weightlifting events.

With Camp Zama being his first duty station, Dixon said the program served as an icebreaker for him as he learned more about Army life.

"I'm relatively still new to the Army," he said. "I just made a year [on active duty], so it was nice getting the chance to get to know how the Army does things."

The friendly competition also provided Dixon an opportunity to meet others across the installation.

"I felt it gives everyone a chance to know your neighbors, to be more of a community," he said. "Even though sometimes you win or lose, the great thing is that you get to work with people and get to know them."

Greg Zaboski, a sports specialist for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and others worked behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly.

He said he appreciated the ongoing support from garrison leadership to hold the program, which he said this year saw fierce competition with many hard-fought battles on sports fields and inside the gym.

"It builds camaraderie and lets [participants] see other community members in a different facet," Zaboski said. "It also allows them to relieve some stress and instills that active lifestyle and spirit."

At the end of each season, Zaboski oversees a sports council meeting that discusses the way forward.

The meetings let designated members from each participating unit decide if an event should be added or dropped, depending on resources and other considerations.

While he doesn't expect any changes to the events for next season, which begins this month with softball, he said pickleball was added last year because of these meetings.

"We actively try to get the community involved and see what they want through their unit sports representative," he said. "It's like a living program."

Even though the events can be difficult to coordinate with so many moving pieces, Zaboski said the smiles on the participants' faces and their teamwork makes it all worthwhile.

"That's motivating to see when, even though they win or lose a competition, that was just part of the camaraderie and the team building that they have in that unit," he said. "It's amazing to see others pick each other up."

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website