OKINAWA, Japan --
Japanese government officials and U.S. Marines came together for discussion and information sessions during the Artillery Relocation Training Program and Tilt Rotor Rotary Wing Annual Planning Conference at Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, June 22-23.
Officials included representation from the Japanese Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Okinawa Defense Bureau, U.S. Forces Japan and III Marine Expeditionary Force. In addition to open discussions, the officials observed displays of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the M777 howitzer, and the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.
The purpose of the conference was to afford both sides an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the goals of the program, as well as solidify bilateral objectives related to the training, the continued usage of training areas and the modernization of both forces, said Capt. Justin L. Miller, ARTP coordinator, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.
“Marine Corps artillery is not going to be like it’s always been.” Capt. Justin L. Miller, ARTP coordinator, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
The U.S. and Japan have a long-standing history of cooperation as treaty allies. ARTP provides 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines with essential live-fire training that increases combat readiness and deterrence, supporting the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
“We would like to provide continuous support to the U.S. Marines for both the U.S. and Japan to meet these goals,” said Yoshito Shindoh, deputy director, Training Coordination Office, Local Coordination Division, Bureau of Local Cooperation, Ministry of Defense.
As part of force modernization, the Marine Corps representatives discussed the institution’s shift in artillery from traditional cannon batteries to mobile, missile-based systems.
“Marine Corps artillery is not going to be like it’s always been,” added Miller. “We are moving to the new system of medium missile batteries within the next few years.”
Photo by Cpl. Nickolas Beamish
Participating officials expressed their excitement in the unique opportunity to see the HIMARS, MV-22, and M777 up-close. During both the ARTP and TRRW events they asked questions about the future role of HIMARS within the ARTP, and the capabilities of the MV-22 tilt-rotor platform.
“I would like to express my thanks for the opportunity to see the static display of howitzers and HIMARS because we’ve never seen that before, and that’s why I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” said Shindoh. “I’m grateful that we could hold a fruitful meeting.”
ARTP training has been conducted at five mainland maneuver areas since 1997 with the understanding and cooperation of the local governments. The training provides Marines with the opportunity to train in a variety of locations, with varying climates and topography. This diversity of environment helps prepare Marines to respond to any and all crises and contingencies that could occur in the region. The realistic training is necessary to maintain the proficiency and readiness of the Marine artillerymen in the defense of Japan under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.