Military Photo: Marines From Okinawa Conduct Artillery Training

Posted: 07/01/2010

Photo by Pfc. J Nava
Story by Pfc. J Nava

More than 400 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, with augments from Kilo Battery, 3rd Bn., 11th Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted artillery relocation training in the Yausubetsu Maneuver Area.

The two artillery batteries and one headquarters battery successfully completed 10 days of live-fire training with their M777 155mm Howitzers.

"We are here in Yausubetsu to conduct artillery missions to support our Military Occupational Specialty proficiency," said 1st Sgt. Richard Estrada, Kilo Battery first sergeant. "A Marine that is not trained will fail in combat."

The purpose of the training was to sustain proficiency among the artillery Marines in order to respond effectively to contingencies where artillery would be required. "We must always be sure to be combat effective because Marines are America’s 911 force," said Lance Cpl. Zach Maki, fire direction control man, Kilo Battery. "You never know when we’re going to be called upon to go to war." Yausubetsu also provides both batteries with important cold weather training. For Marines who call tropical and desert environments home, the cold weather provides its own set of challenges. "It’s good for us to get out of the desert and train somewhere cold like Yausubetsu," said 2nd Lt. Paul Mooney, an artillery officer with Kilo Battery. "We’re not always going to have to fight where it’s warm. We fight in every clime and place."

Training in Yausubetsu not only offers Marines a good training value, it also offers a chance for interaction and friendship between Marines and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.

"I like how the Marines conduct themselves," said Staff Sgt. Tomonori Yamada of the 11th Army Brigade, JGSDF. "From what I see and when I make encounters with Marines they seem very hardworking and are very kind individuals."

Live fire training concluded June 5 and the exercise was completed Sunday.

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