JSDF members visit Kinser
CAMP KINSER, Okinawa - Approximately 20 Japan Self-Defense Force officers and senior enlisted members toured Combat Logistics Regiment 37’s headquarters and subordinate companies Nov. 26 at Camp Kinser.
The tour fostered a better understanding of each nation’s military structure and enhanced camaraderie between the units.
“(In the past), we had an opportunity to go to the JSDF’s maintenance facility and see their vehicles, equipment and learn about their capabilities,” said 2nd Lt. Mollie B. Hebda, a logistics officer with CLR-37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “They came today to (Kinser) and we paid in kind, showing them around, answering their questions about the capabilities of our vehicles and (explaining) how our command structure works.”
The event started with the JSDF members being briefed on CLR-37’s organizational structure and the role each subordinate section has in the regiment’s operational readiness and mission accomplishment.
“We were very interested to see what the differences were between us and the Marines,” said Sgt. 1st Class Takeshi Okumura, a maintainer with the JSDF. “The briefing they gave us before the tour gave a clear understanding (of Marine logistics command and control).”
During the tour, the JSDF members visited CLR-37’s Landing Support Company, Communication Company and Food Service Company.
“This type of event is very good for our militaries because it builds camaraderie and continues to improve our community relations with our host nation,” said Hebda.
Additionally, the event provided a venue for both nations to learn about the differences in each other’s military and the equipment on display during the tour, according to Hebda.
“One of the questions we get is how we protect the troops operating the vehicles,” said Hebda. “Here they can see for themselves how thick the armor is that covers 7-tons or Humvees.”
Display vehicles included a 7-ton truck, Humvee variants, an MMV container forklift, extended boom and a multipurpose forklift.
At the end of the tour, the Marines held a question and answer session and presented a plaque to their JSDF guests from Lt. Col. Craig A. Grant, the executive officer of CLR-37.
“Having them over to see our equipment and its capabilities takes out the mystery of what we do here,” said Grant. “They are our host nation, and having this event is positive to our relationship.”
With camaraderie and professional understanding enhanced through the event, both nations’ militaries were able to learn and grow together, according to 1st Lt. Cody D. Chenoweth, a communications officer with the regiment.
“If we can train together on Okinawa, it would be good for both militaries because it would assist in the Marine Corp’s mission as a forward-deployed force in readiness within this region,” said Chenoweth.