Japan, US officers discuss artillery
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, hosted an M777A2 155 mm howitzer static display for student-officers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's Fuji Schools at Camp Hansen Oct. 24.
The event was part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program, which provides the opportunity for JGSDF personnel and U.S. service members to exchange information on a wide range of military topics.
The Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, a part of 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, displayed the howitzer to the JGSDF student-officers and explained its importance to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
"A MAGTF is composed of four elements: the command element, air combat element, logistics combat element and ground combat element," said Maj. David I. Padilla, executive officer of the battalion.
Use of the howitzer enhances the lethality of the ground combat element by providing supporting fires on the battlefield, allowing Marines to maneuver easily, according to Padilla.
"The key element that I tried to convey is the combined combat power of the MAGTF," said Padilla. "This unique fighting organization and structure can be tailored and scaled to operate across the entire range of military operations."
In order for the U.S. and Japan to preserve and sustain joint capabilities, there has to be a mutual understanding regarding the way both forces operate, according to 1st Lt. Sean R. Salefske, a fires direction officer with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment.
"By addressing and answering questions about our equipment and procedures, we can take a step forward in creating a level of mutual understanding in our field," said Salefske.
The Marines briefed their capabilities and answered questions, according to Maj. Mashi Kagiwada, a student-officer with Fuji Schools.
"We have many questions because we are training to become field officers," said Kagiwada. "In a battle, we can work together easily because we know their structure and way of fighting."
The JGSDF student-officers spent approximately two hours becoming familiar with the functions and capabilities of the howitzer and its role within the MAGTF.
The static display was a great opportunity to further understand how the Marine Corps operates, according to Kagiwada.
"We would like to attend and partake in more displays in the future to exchange knowledge," said Kagiwada.