News: JGSDF members meet course challenges
CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Present sword! Order sword! Carry sword! These are a few of the commands that can be heard echoing across the paradedeck at Camp Foster during the Headquarters and Service Battalion’s corporals course.
However, there is something that stands out about this course. There are two students in the course who are not U.S. Marines. They are members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
“We are here to promote the exchange between the enlisted Marines and the enlisted Japan Ground Self-Defense Force … to understand how the Marines think and operate,” said Sgt. Nana Kawada, a medical officer with the JGSDF’s 36th Infantry Regiment. “This will assist in the effort to facilitate the coordination during joint training or humanitarian assistance operations.”
Despite the language barrier, both JGSDF members are doing well in the course, according to Staff Sgt. Justin R. Straws, the chief instructor of the course and combat engineer with 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“They are good students,” said Straws. “I think they are definitely learning a lot from the course, which they will be able to take back to their units.”
Although the JGSDF has a similar course for sergeants, the training for Marine Corps non-commissioned officers is very different, according to Kawada.
“The JGSDF tends to just teach or tell, but the Marine Corps makes you think how to take responsibility, so I think I would like to take that attitude and philosophy back with me,” said Kawada.
Thus far, the JGSDF members have learned that they have a tremendous responsibility.
“I learned that, in the Marine Corps, corporals take responsibility of their subordinates, and they emphasize taking care of the junior Marines,” said Sgt. Hironobu Ehara, an infantryman with the 1st Division Headquarters, JGSDF.
Both are constantly learning from the other Marines in the course and they are not treated differently – they are treated like Marines, according to Straws.
“All the Marines are very helpful,” said Ehara. “They are very kind – they really care that I understand what is going on, and they spare their time to make sure we understand everything.”
The Marines in the course are also learning from the JGSDF members.
“We showed each other exercises that we can use for our units during physical training,” said Cpl. Mary E. Bucklin, an ammunition technician with Combat Logistics Regiment 35. “We show them some things they can take back, and they show us some things we can [use].”
The JGSDF members are grateful that they are able to participate in the course.
“On behalf of the JGSDF, I would like to share my appreciation and I am very grateful for this opportunity,” said Ehara.
The relationships created during the course will last a long time, according to Straws.
“They all bonded,” said Straws. “It has been a privilege to train them. I learned as much from them as they have learned from me.”
Date Posted:08.23.2012 03:50
Location:CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, JP
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