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I Corps setting up shop at Camp Zama

U.S. Army Japan continues to arrange the building blocks in its transformation toward a modern tactical headquarters.

Camp Zama’s motor pool recently received additional Humvees to accommodate possible future deployments, with new space designated for I Corps (Forward) vehicles.

The U.S. military’s realignment puzzle in Japan fell into place as an I Corps (Forward) headquarters was formally activated at Zama.

The forward element provides I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash., with a command platform to deploy more effectively for the defense of Japan and other Far East contingencies.

Without identifying totals, Zama officials said personnel, equipment, vehicles and supplies are still arriving as part of the initial setup.

The change, however, hasn’t led to a large influx of new soldiers at Zama.

To some extent, it’s involved some simply changing patches and switching their classification from USARJ to I Corps.

Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, the I Corps commander from Fort Lewis, said in December the troop increase would be less than 100.

In the meantime, training has cranked up on newly fielded technologies, such as a total battle awareness computer system that feeds critical information to Humvees.

Maj. Dennis Staley, U.S. Army Japan’s logistics division chief, says I Corps (Forward) won’t be fully operational until October 2009, but troops can act sooner if called upon.

As new equipment arrives, he added, soldiers will have to be fast learners.

"This is all new equipment that most of these soldiers have never trained on," Staley said.

"I’m responsible for getting the equipment here in a timely manner so the soldiers can start training on those tasks that they need to do to deploy."

Plans call for construction of a battle simulation center allowing computer war games to be played out at Sagami Depot.

But ground hasn’t been broken yet and no definitive timeline is in place.

Stars and Stripes reporter Timothy D. Wightman contributed to this story.


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