JGSDF Western Army Headquarters Support Association visits Camp Schwab

JGSDF Western Army Headquarters Support Association visits Camp Schwab

by Pfc. Donald T. Peterson
Okinawa Marine Staff

CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa —Representatives with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Western Army Headquarters Support Association visited Camp Schwab, Feb. 12.

The visit was designed to deepen its understanding of III Marine Expeditionary Force and its operational capabilities.

During the visit, the representatives received a presentation on the history of Camp Schwab, and the plans for its future by Col. Richard D. Hall, the Camp Schwab commander and commanding officer of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“During the (meeting), we spoke about the history of Camp Schwab and how changes will be made in the future to have a new flight line put in as part of the (Futenma Replacement Facility) plan,” said Hall. “We also discussed how the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is planning to create their own amphibious element.”

With the JGSDF working to create an amphibious element, the discussion of future combined training and exercises was also discussed.

“I hope that when our amphibious unit is created that they can learn and train with the Marines to help increase our capabilities and understanding of each other,” said Akira Kashiwagi, the president of the JGSDF Western Army Headquarters Support Association. “This will allow us to work better together (in the future if need be).”

Following the meeting, the representatives were taken to VIP Hill where U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline B. Kennedy had visited earlier in the day to observe where the new flight line would be built as part of the FRF plan.

“To the representatives being able to see the future location of the FRF, and knowing that Ambassador Kennedy was briefed on it (as well) is important to them,” said Fumio Iha, community relations specialist for Camp Schwab.

During their visit, Hall made sure to answer all questions pertaining to the capabilities of the Marines on Camp Schwab, the FRF program and more, to ensure the representatives were as informed a possible.

“It’s important to ensure our counterparts are well informed of the full situation and have their questions answered,” said Hall. “Camp Schwab hasn’t really been talked about as much as it is now because of the relocation. (The representatives) don’t fully know what the Marines have done here at Camp Schwab, like the (community relations events) with the citizens of Nago, and how the Marines of Camp Schwab consider the citizens of Nago not only friends but family.”

Following the completion of the tour, the representatives left with a better understanding of the Marines of Camp Schwab, and future plans.

“Today’s visit was very informative,” said Kashiwagi. “I have learned a lot about the capabilities of Marines on Camp Schwab, as well as their interactions with the community. I hope that we can continue to work together and strengthen our bond.”

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