SASEBO, Japan – A Great Mills High School graduate and St. Mary’s County, Maryland native is serving in the U.S. Navy with the forward deployed unit, Naval Beach Unit 7.

Seaman Joshua Hall is operating forward in Sasebo, Japan.

A Navy seaman performs many essential functions to run a ship, including serving as a helmsman and lookout, standing security watches while in port or underway, paint and rust removal, compartment cleaning, and numerous other deck-related responsibilities.

“Right now we’re doing ship-to-shore movements, moving Marines and equipment to the beaches so they can practice live fires in Thailand, Malaysia, Phillippines, and beaches in Guam,” said Hall, who recently received a Navy Achievement Medal for that effort. “I”ve been to 10 different countries so far.”

With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.

Commissioned in August of 2012, Naval Beach Unit 7 was formed to combine the three forward deployed naval forces detachments in Japan.  The unit functions as the forward deployed naval force responsible for manning, organizing, training, maintaining and equipping all naval beach assets.

“Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values,” said Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command Commander. “It’s not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom.”

“Serving in Japan has given me a new respect and pride for my own country,” Hall said.

Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to travel and get away from home, I wanted to put my life on a fast track,” said Hall. “I’ve been given that opportunity here.”

The Navy’s presence in Sasebo is part of a long-standing commitment to the region.

“The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Harris.