Col. Scott Welborn assumed command of Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, on June 17, 2024.

Col. Scott Welborn assumed command of Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, on June 17, 2024. (Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji)

Command of the Marine Corps’ primary training facility in Japan passed this week to a veteran artillery officer.

Col. Scott Welborn on Monday relieved Col. Neil Owens as commander of Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji in Shizuoka prefecture, about 55 miles southwest of Tokyo and just a few miles from the base of Mount Fuji. 

Camp Fuji is adjacent to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Camp Takigahara, and together the two share a training area of approximately 36,000 acres.

Owens, who assumed command in May 2022, leaves behind a “legacy of achievement and progress” by expanding training opportunities for fixed-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft and increasing cooperation between the two bases, according to Maj. Gen. Brian Wolford, commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

“[Those] opportunities have not only enhanced our operational capabilities, but also paved the way for continued development of our joint capabilities,” Wolford said during the ceremony, which was livestreamed on the base’s official Facebook page.

Camp Fuji has taken on a higher profile as the U.S. and Japanese militaries increase their training opportunities together. U.S. Marines and Japanese troops in June 2021 engaged in a force-on-force exercise for the first time in Camp Fuji’s 70 years.

Owens, of Massachusetts, described his two years at Camp Fuji as a privilege, and thanked his counterparts at the Ground Self-Defense Force and those under his command.

“The future of the Marine Corps is happening right here, right now, and you guys are shaping it,” he said to Marines standing in formation during the ceremony.

His next assignment will be chief of staff for the 3rd Marine Division, headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler on Okinawa, according to base spokeswoman Song Jordan. 

Welborn, of Missouri, began his career in Marine Corps artillery. He served as an artillery officer in the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, a targeting officer and fire support officer in the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and as a battery commander at 1st Battalion, 10th Marines.

He also commanded the 2d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, served as a future operations officer for the III Marine Expeditionary Force and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a biography provided by Jordan. 

He holds master’s degrees in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, theater operations from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies and management from Webster University, and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri. 

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.

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