CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- U.S. Army Garrison Japan’s (USAG-J) commander gave himself a tough goal for his first 90 days on the job: putting “boots on the ground” at all of the Garrison’s 17 locations in what is commonly called a “Battlefield Circulation.”
Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson said it was absolutely crucial that he, accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj. Justin Turner, “establish an understanding of each location’s mission in support to U.S. Army Japan.”
That included getting up to speed on status of the facilities, the health and morale of the entire workforce, and the unique challenges faced at each location.
Tomlinson and Turner also visited Japanese government officials to thank them personally for the continued partnership in hosting the U.S. Army installations.
Tomlinson commands the largest geographical garrison in the Army, with facilities spanning more than 1,200 miles from the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu to Okinawa.
It’s a garrison so geographically dispersed that Soldiers could enjoy a weekend snowboarding in world-class resorts in northern Japan while their peers are SCUBA diving in the crystal blue waters of tropical Okinawa on the same day.
“My initial assessment provided me with the impression that the USAG-J team is extremely competent and professional and is embedded with enabling USARJ units’ operational missions and serving their Soldiers and families,” Tomlinson said.
The Army recognizes that its people are its top priority, and senior-most leaders have pledged to continue focusing on all aspects of quality of life.
USAG Japan’s 2,200-plus member workforce stands on the front lines of that support, one of Tomlinson’s key priorities, especially with the transition out of COVID.
“We need to focus on how we resume our exceptional Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs to our extended locations to demonstrate reach where they need it most,” he said. “As we begin the resumption to a more consistent operational tempo, it will be critical that USAG-J provides concurrent support to those missions to Soldiers and families, particularly in the remote sites with limited reach.”
The garrison team works closely to support dozens of community support agencies and other tenant partners, ranging from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Japan to the Logistics Readiness Center, I Corps Forward to the Military Sealift Command, among others.
Each agency has its own mission, and own focus, yet all rely heavily on the garrison for support.
Tomlinson said he also gathered key leaders from the Garrison’s directorates for a two-day planning session in late October to “provide a holistic review of installation operations, resources, activities, and daily tasks to ensure they are relevant to USARJ and IMCOM-Pacific operational and strategic ends.”
He said his goal was to achieve a roadmap for refined mission focus that helps balance support of U.S. Army Pacific’s overall posture and initiatives while maintaining the Installation Management Command’s focus on people and quality of life.
Another focus area, Tomlinson said, will continue to be infrastructure and prioritization of sustainment for existing facilities through a very deliberate approach and processes such as the Real Property Planning Board.
“I’m happy that we were able to conduct the Battlefield Circulation,” Tomlinson said. “Command Sgt. Maj. Turner and I were able to see first-hand how our innovative team of diverse professionals commit themselves to enabling operations while providing modern, resilient and sustainable installations in support of our Soldiers, families and civilians.”