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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2016

Fuji Training Grounds Keep Marines Ready in Asia-Pacific

By Cpl. Jessica Collins

CAMP FUJI, Japan - Marine Corps Installations Pacific is the back bone of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, enabling the strategic launch and recovery of military capabilities to save lives and preserve regional peace, stability and security.

The Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, plays a crucial role in MCIPAC’s abilities. It’s one of the only places in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region where Marines can do large scale combined arms training.

“Camp Fuji supports training across all aspects of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force,” said Col. Todd R. Finley, the commanding officer of CATC Fuji. “We can run simulated close air-support, as well as indirect and direct fire ranges.”

CATC Fuji is composed of more than 300 acres of live-fire ranges and maneuver areas which have been used by training units since the 1990s.

“The camp gives the Marine Expeditionary Force commander some flexibility in the training profile he doesn’t get from other installations,” said Finley. “It has the capacity to support anything from MAGTF level operations to company level training movements.”

CATC ensures Marines from different combat elements are proficient in communicating and functioning together in combat conditions.

“As Marines, we fight in every clime and place,” said Cpl. Luke Cardelli, a rifleman with Co. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment; currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program. “We have to be fit to fight in any condition and environment. Here we have the opportunity to function in a colder environment that differs from our usual surroundings.”

CATC Fuji functions closely with their fellow Japanese service members. There are five Japanese garrisons in and around Camp Fuji which house the soldiers.

“Being this close to our counterparts allows us to build friendships and successful working and training relationships,” said Finley. “Bilateral training is the end goal.”

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion on Camp Komakado, Shizuoka, Japan, recently invited Marines to tour their facilities.

“Japan and the United States are critical allies with an important relationship,” said JGSDF 1st Lt. Takahashi, with the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion. “When I visited Okinawa last year, I was treated very well by the Marines, so I wanted the Marines to have the same experience here. Our friendship is very important and this was a great opportunity to build on it.”

This relationship, combined with CATC Fuji’s facilities, provides MARFORPAC a forward-based platform for training, readiness and force projection.

“The Marines come here leave with not only a better proficiency in basic battle skills, but also field environment training for their military occupational specialty,” said Finley.

Installations like Camp Fuji optimize the effectiveness of MCIPAC allowing MARFORPAC to maintain a high state of training and combat readiness.

“It is another step in increasing our readiness to carry out our mission here in the Pacific,” said Cardelli. “With this training, we can be ready for anything, anytime and anywhere.”

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