U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, participated in the Artillery Relocation Training Program 19-3 at Ojojihara, Japan from July 21 to August 4, 2019. ARTP is a regularly scheduled training event, which enhances the combat readiness of U.S. Marine forces and supports the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
During this training, 3/12 conducted artillery live-fire, small arms weapons training, integration training, and community relations events. Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, also participated in the training, utilizing the Polaris MRZR to maneuver from different observation points within the training area.
“With ARTP, we train constantly to strengthen our weaknesses,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Dontavius Bell, a section chief with 3/12 from Americus, Georgia. “The different terrain and weather conditions builds us up as a force in readiness.”
During ARTP, Marines with 3/12 practiced relocating and firing M777 Howitzers while other Marines rehearsed their roles in the field and gained knowledge in their military occupation.
For some Marines, such as Pfc. Hector Rodriguez Rivera, a cannoneer with 3/12 from Penuelas, Puerto Rico, this was their first time in the field and they had a lot to learn.
“It's been a learning experience,” said Rodriguez. “The terrain, weather, and situations are completely different than what I’m used to. ARTP has made me more confident in my ability to send rounds down range anywhere.”
The Marines of 3/12 spent over a week in the field, training and enhancing their warfighting capabilities. After the training evolution was over, the Marines went on culture tours, participated in community relation events, and received liberty in the city of Sendai. All of this is critical to the strong bond and friendship between the local community and the U.S Marines who call Japan their home.