US Civilian awarded Japan’s highest foreign national award
Maj. Gen. Tomofusa Harada, the commanding general for the 15th brigade, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, awarded Mr. John Peters Japan's Defense Cooperation Award- Class Jan. 6 aboard JGSDF Camp Naha.
The Japan’s Defense Cooperation Award is Japan's highest award that the JGSDF can award to a non-Japanese service member and this is the first time that the corresponding medal was presented to a foreign national.
Peters served as the Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler range safety officer and liaison officer to the JGSDF from January 2008 until January 2016. As the liaison officer to JGSDF, Peters spearheaded the integration of the JGSDF unit training with MCIPAC training. Mr. Peters was directly responsible for the range Officer In Charge and Range Safety Officer certification of more than 2,500 JGSDF soldiers, further enabling the JGSDF units training opportunities while strengthening the US and Japanese alliance.
“It is my sincere pleasure to express my appreciation for your immense contribution to fortify the Japan and U.S. military alliance,” said Harada to Peters during the award presentation. “Your efforts made contributions to 15th Brigade’s education and training foundation establishment.”
After receiving the award, Peters expressed a deep sense of gratitude towards Harada for considering him for such an award.
“This is extremely humbling and I am honored to be recognized for such a prestigious award,” said Peters. “I look forward to working with the JGSDF in the future and further expanding the relationship between the U.S. military and the JGSDF.
As his time with MCIPAC comes to a close, Peters hopes to maintain the fruitful working-relationship with Harada at his new position at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where JGSDF units regularly conduct training.
The partnership fostered by Peters allows MCIPAC to continue to be the strength behind America’s ability to respond quickly to crisis in the Asia-Pacific region.
Photo by Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul