News: CMC: Asia-Pacific region critical
Story by Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan
CAMP FOSTER, Japan — General James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett visited Okinawa and addressed Marines on current issues and the importance of their mission in the Asia-Pacific region Aug. 12.
As the tempo in the Middle East slows, the spotlight will shift to the Asia-Pacific region, bringing new importance to the actions of forces here, according to Amos.
“This is a very important part of the world and we want to make sure that we’re here to talk to our Marines,” said Amos.
During a live radio interview on American Forces Network Okinawa at Camp Foster, Amos and Barrett answered questions from Marines and spoke about how critical it is to have Marines in the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of the nation’s alliance with Japan.
“We have developed some very warm relationships with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force,” said Amos. “Alliances are reinforced over time during operations such as Operation Tomodachi.
“At the end of the day, the alliance between our two nations is the most important thing we can deal with.”
The commandant also explained the importance of III Marine Expeditionary Force from a global perspective.
“There is nobody further west, there is nobody more engaged, there is nobody that has greater relationships, there is nobody that is more predictable in regards to helping our neighbors, our friends, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and warfighting plans than the III Marine Expeditionary Force,” said Amos. “This really is the tip of the warfighting spear.”
III MEF is also a primary player in the president’s plan to shift focus to the region.
“I want every Marine and sailor and all the family members out there to understand they are the lead element of the president’s strategy, which was announced in February,” said Amos.
Marines on Okinawa hold an increasingly important role as the tip of the spear in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Barrett.
“I want the Marines over here to be the greatest recruiters on the planet, and I want them to tell Marines back in the states what a great opportunity it is to come over here, experience this culture, and be able to help us expand and develop the partnership we have with our Japanese partners,” said Barrett.
Amos said each Marine here is an ambassador, and the actions of all affect the nation’s relationship with Japan.
“The U.S. has seven major treaties. Five of them are here in the Asia-Pacific (region), with Japan being one of the absolute cornerstone alliances we have. That is why all the efforts to do the right thing on Okinawa, and the realignment of Marines, is so critically important,” said Amos.