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Hokkaido Defense Bureau Hosts Conference with Marine Attack Squadron 542 Commanding Officer

By Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego | Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan | Dec. 6, 2016

CHITOSE AIR BASE, Japan -- The Hokkaido Defense Bureau hosted a press conference with U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. John D. Ferguson, commanding officer for Marine Attack Squadron 542, in reference to this year’s Aviation Training Relocation Program at Chitose Air Base, Japan, Dec. 5, 2016.

The press conference informed the local community about the significance and missions of the ATR for the U.S. and Japan governments.

“The purpose of the Aviation Training Relocation Program is to increase interoperability, increase our readiness and support training,” said Ferguson. “The Aviation Training Program allows us to reduce the impact on places like Iwakuni and Okinawa who carry the line share of the training that has to happen over here in order for us to be ready to fight tonight.”

During the conference, questions the local community had in reference to the ATR and arrival of the squadrons AV-8B Harriers were addressed.

Ferguson also utilized the time to express the benefits the ATR has on the local community and military organizations involved.

“For the local community this ATR is an opportunity to meet Marines and see the great things we do as an organization,” said Ferguson. “The Japan Air Self Defense Force gets an opportunity to train with us and see how we do business and we get a chance to learn from them, so if we ever need to work together this bilateral training enhances the interoperability that we have.”

Upon conclusion of the conference VMA-542 began their training in support of the ATR.

“My expectations are the same as always,” said Ferguson. “We are professionals and we do our job. I want my Marines to show the local community our core values and what we do as Marines.”

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