Marines, Fuji-area leaders meet before training
COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, Japan -- Lt. Col. Jason Brown, the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, met with key leaders from the surrounding communities near the North Fuji Maneuver Area in mainland Japan Nov. 9.
Prior to Mike Battery conducting artillery live-fire training, Brown informed the leaders about training details and discussed his intent for Artillery Relocation Training Program 12-3. Mike Battery is currently assigned to 3rd Bn., 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
"The most valuable relationships we have as service members are with neighbors of the bases overseas," said Brown. "It is important to inform the community about the training we are conducting."
Brown first visited with Shigeru Horiuchi, the mayor of Fujiyoshida City. Fujiyoshida is the largest community near the training area at the base of Mount Fuji.
"We particularly wish to thank the (community) for your patience and hospitality in providing us access to facilities which are vital to our training in support of the U.S.-Japan security treaty," said Brown during his visit with Horiuchi.
Brown next visited with Kozo Sato, the director of the Onshirin Regional Public Organization. The organization is a local public entity that manages the forests within the North Fuji Maneuver Area.
During the visit, Brown and Sato discussed how the area's climate and terrain offers unique training challenges for Brown's Marines and sailors.
"Even though our trees have autumn leaves, it still gets very cold during the nights," said Sato. "We would like for you not to catch ill during your training."
Next, Brown visited the mayor of Oshino Village, Yasunori Amano. During the visit, Mayor Amano expressed an interest in the training schedule, and Brown reinforced the importance of the training his Marines are conducting.
"Our priority here at Camp Fuji is to safely conduct artillery training to increase proficiency in support of the U.S.-Japan alliance," said Brown. "Once that intent has been met, firing will cease, our equipment will be cleaned, and it will be prepared for shipment back to Okinawa."
The final visit was with Tadahisa Takamura, the mayor of Yamanakako Village. The village's economy is primarily based on tourism and agriculture. Takamura welcomed the Marines and sailors just like he welcomes tourists to his village, wishing them well during their training.
"I hope that you have a safe and successful training during your time at Mount Fuji," said Takamura. "I look forward to seeing your demonstrations on media day."
Several of the leaders, local media outlets and other distinguished guests attended an event demonstrating the training and proficiency of Mike Battery at the North Fuji Maneuver Area Nov. 13.
"Keeping the community informed about our training is important to maintaining the relationship between the U.S. and Japan," said Brown. "Meeting with the community leadership and bringing them out to see how we operate is a critical aspect of the training program."