MCB CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
78 years ago this month, U.S. Marines from the 4th Marine Division deployed from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to participate in an epic battle against an estimated 18,000 Japanese soldiers on the heavily fortified volcanic island of Iwo Jima, Japan. As mortal enemies back then, few would ever imagine a gathering to celebrate an ironclad alliance between the two countries that has lasted for more than 75 years.
Today, the U.S. and Japan share the common goal of safeguarding East Asia and the Pacific and a commitment to pursue further opportunities for military partnerships, combined operations, and training. With growing security challenges on the Korean peninsula, the Taiwan strait, and shipping lanes crossing the Western Pacific, events and gatherings between the U.S. and Japan have become increasingly important to maintain this lasting friendship.
“Organizations like JUMP don’t just enhance our partnership.” U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Niebel, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East-MCB Camp Lejeune
To that end, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Niebel, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East-MCB Camp Lejeune, hosted Japan U.S. Military Program Director Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Maj. Gen. Hiroyuki Sugai, defense, air and space attaché to the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C., and Ms. Shanti Shoji, director of Project Operations for Sasekawa Peace Foundation USA, March 8th, on the base. The three spent the afternoon touring the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer and the Infantry Immersion Trainer before gathering that evening with Okinawan members of the local community and U.S. service members and civilians from MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River to celebrate Japan’s continued support and partnership.
Col. Burnett, the commanding officer for MCAS New River, welcomed guests and spoke about his time with III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa as an MV-22B Osprey Squadron executive officer, Marine Aircraft Group 36 operations officer, and the commanding officer of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262. “The Japanese – US alliance is stronger than ever, with a will to deepen our bonds for continued success in our strategic partnership in the face of an uncertain future,” said Burnett.
“While I was not fortunate enough to be stationed there, I have heard from many Marines about their time in Japan,” said Niebel. “They all spoke fondly of the special relationship shared with the Japanese people and what gracious hosts they were.”
JUMP was formed to connect past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan through social networks and grassroots events.
“Organizations like JUMP don’t just enhance our partnership,” said Niebel. “They transcend international relations and facilitate the creation of the inseparable bonds which will preserve our alliance for the next 75 years and beyond.”
JUMP, launched in April 2015, is a collaborative effort between Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, the Embassy of Japan in the United States, and the National Association of Japan-America Societies.