June 17, 2013 --
HOKKAIDO, Japan - Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, successfully concluded Artillery Relocation Training Program 13-1 June 21 at the Yausubetsu Maneuver Area, Hokkaido, Japan.
The exercise was comprised of Marines with Headquarters Battery, 3rd Bn., 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, along with Charlie Battery, 1st Bn., 12th Marines and Fox Battery, 2nd Bn., 10th Marines, currently assigned to 3rd Bn., 12th Marines, under the unit deployment program.
“The goal of the artillery relocation training program is to keep our artillery batteries in a high state of readiness, so we can deploy in support of operations in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Capt. Caleb A. Murphy, the commanding officer of Headquarters Battery. “We have completed that mission, and the training was a success.”
An added benefit for the Marines during this ARTP iteration was that they were able to sharpen skills such as patrolling and security readiness between the artillery live-fire events, according to Murphy.
“Because the rate of live-fire was slower, it gave us a chance to focus on local security, where the Marines protected the headquarters and battery positions,” said Murphy.
The additional time was beneficial for the younger Marines who recently arrived from the artillery military occupational specialty school, according to Sgt. Garry L. Lowrance, an assistant radio chief with 3rd Bn., 12th Marines.
“Our younger Marines learned quite a bit from this evolution that they didn’t learn in school,” said Lowrance. “They went to multiple positions, resolved communication issues, and gained the experience they need to be able to work efficiently.”
Throughout the exercise, vital communications were maintained, which was a contributing factor to the success of the ARTP, according to Lance Cpl. Robert D. James, a field radio operator with 3rd Bn., 12th Marines.
“Part of the reason our operations ran smoothly was because we maintained 100 percent of our communications with headquarters,” said James. “As another part of our job, we sent communication-contact teams to the batteries to help with any issues they may have had.”
Some challenges the Marines faced included the rough terrain comprised of hills and ditches, and the thick vegetation that slowed movement, according to Murphy.
“Despite the challenges, we were fortunate that the weather was good and we were able to get the training done,” said Murphy. “The Marines performed an outstanding job.”
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