NAF ATSUGI, Japan -- Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi welcomed newly-commissioned Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) officers as apart of a command familiarization brief conducted in the command headquarters building, Dec. 7.
In all, a total of 29 officers hailing from the JMSDF 203rd Air Training Squadron from Chiba Prefecture were in attendance. Each officer is currently in training on the Lockheed P-3 Orion platform, and upon completion of the program will then proceed to their next duty station.
NAF Atsugi Executive Officer, Cmdr. Zathan Baker provided the brief, which covered various aspects of the installation, ranging from an introduction of facilities, it's history, to include the purpose and mission of it tenant commands, mainly those of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, HSM-51 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12.
"I remember back when I was a newly-commissioned Ensign, I did not know much about NAF Atsugi, so for these officers to receive this opportunity to learn about this installation is a huge plus for them, said JMSDF Fleet Air Wing Four Public Affairs Officer, Lt. Takumi Fukumoto, who also coordinated the visit. "My hope is that each of these officers walk away feeling a since of wanting to engage more with U.S. Sailors to help further deepen our relationship with each other."
Upon completion of the presentation, Baker shared his experience as a pilot of both rotary and fixed-wing platforms, then conducted a question and answer session.
"What I hope the officers gain from this experience is the fact that NAF Atsugi is a shared and collaborative effort between the U.S. and Japan and that we need each other's support to complete our missions here in the area of responsibility," said Baker.
For those in attendance, the brief enabled them to learn much more about NAF Atsugi than they bargained for.
"Prior to coming here I was already somewhat familiar with NAF Atsugi, but todays' brief further deepened my understanding about the base and its capabilities, and one example would be the US' ability to provide disaster relief to the magnitude that it can," said Ens. Reina Saito, who is from Osaka, Japan.
Furthermore, Saito said that she was looking forward to her next duty station which could possibly be at NAF Atsugi or another base with US service members.
"In the near future, I want to not only experience working alongside our US Navy counterparts, but also to make friends, practice my English and share cultural exchange," said Saito.
NAF Atsugi has been home to Sailors and their families for nearly 60 years and is part of the only permanently forward deployed, co-located Air Wing, Carrier Air Wing Five. NAF Atsugi supports 26 award winning tenant commands, with a focus on guaranteeing mission accomplishment, while also ensuring the success of the command community and youth programs.