June 24, 2013 -- CAMP COURTNEY — Officers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force trained alongside chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialists with 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, June 24-28 at Camp Courtney.
The two groups executed classroom and practical-application training to better understand each other’s operating procedures and familiarize themselves with the capabilities and functions of their partner-nation’s equipment.
“We are excited to get this opportunity to train with our Japanese counterparts because we don’t get to interact with them like this frequently,” said U.S. Marine Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christopher J. Joy, the CBRN officer in charge of Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. “We have trained with other nations’ CBRN sections, and my Marines and I are very excited to have this opportunity.”
The officers attended the training as part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program, which allows Marines and JGSDF members to share techniques and tactics while strengthening camaraderie between the service members.
Should a natural or man-made disaster occur, both units would need to know the abilities and expertise of the other.
“The main point of this training was to get our Japanese counterparts familiarized with our gear, so they would know our capabilities, and we would be able to work together using each other’s equipment,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Robert L. Carter, a CBRN defense specialist with Headquarters Bn., 3rd Marine Division.
As part of the training, the JGSDF officers practiced at the operational level, using mission-oriented protective-posture and CBRN threat-detection equipment, and at the strategic level, where they learned to coordinate efforts with their Marine counterparts.
“This training is good because it allows us to see the similarities and differences between both of our CBRN capabilities,” said JGSDF Major Kentaro Hayakawa, a CBRN officer with the Ground Staff Office, JGSDF. “It really lets us understand what the Marines have at each level, and it is a great step to enhancing the relationship between us.”
The training also afforded the JGSDF officers an opportunity to familiarize with the operational and command structure of U.S. Marine Corps CBRN units.
“Before this training, the JGSDF members were not fully aware that the U.S. Marine CBRN community doesn’t have commissioned officers,” said Joy. “We have warrant officers who are in direct command of CBRN Marines, so now if something were to happen they know who to coordinate with.”
By the end of the training, the two services had gained a better understanding of how to work together during future operations.
“This was a great opportunity for us to share the knowledge each service has on CBRN response,” said Hayakawa. “I appreciate all the work the CBRN staff members put in to making the training successful for everyone involved.”