CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — More than 400 Marines and sailors assigned to the 12th Marine Regiment set sail from Okinawa on the Westpac Express high-speed catamaran recently to train at the Combined Arms Training Center at Camp Fuji, Japan.
Three elements of the 12th Marines — Company B, 1st Battalion; Company L, 3rd Battalion; and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion — will take part in an exercise called Fuji Combined Arms Operation, according to Marine Corps public affairs.
The Fuji training is used to keep the artillerymen sharp.
“Marines are not allowed to fire artillery rounds on Okinawa,” said Maj. Kevin L. Moody, 3rd Battalion logistics officer. “You can’t determine proficiency unless you see the rounds impact.”
Many of the Marines in the battalion have taken part in other live-fire exercises held in five training areas elsewhere in Japan. They returned in September from training in the Yausubetsu Training Area on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.
“This is a great training opportunity for Marines to transition from Yausubetsu to Fuji,” Moody said.
“We can operate in different environments and terrains,” said Lt. Col. Samuel T. Studdard, 3rd Battalion commanding officer. “Embarking all of our gear to Fuji helps us prepare to deploy anywhere in the world.
“We are training the Marines to sustain and maintain equipment just as they would in combat.”
The exercise also gives Hawaii-based Marines deployed to the 12th Marine Regiment for training on Okinawa a chance to hone their skills with the Okinawa-based Marines, Studdard said.
“It’s important for us to train together because we need to operate as a team in case we have to deploy as a unit,” Studdard said.