News: Marine translator returns to Okinawa, stands out among peers
Story by Pfc. Daniel Valle
OKINAWA, Japan - About six feet tall, weighing approximately 200 pounds, fresh haircut, clean-shaven, soft spoken, humble, intelligent and helpful, this Marine stands out among his peers.
Cpl. Johnathan K. Brooks, an artillery electronics technician with Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, is fluent in Japanese; an asset that has proven itself to be very valuable as a Marine stationed in Japan.
Brooks recently took part in Artillery Relocation Training Program 11-1 in the East Fuji Maneuver Area when he served as a translator during meetings between his commanding officer and Japanese officials.
The purpose of the exercise was to sustain unit proficiency in all weapons systems used by artillery units to maintain combat readiness in support of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
“Being bilingual means I’m on standby to communicate with the Japanese for our commanding officer,” said Brooks. “When he visits the mayor or meets with Japanese officials, I act as his translator.”
Brooks was born in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he lived with his mother and his father, who was a Marine.
When Brooks was 5, his family moved to Okinawa, Japan. When it came time to attend high school, he went to Urasoe Commercial High School where he improved his skills in Japanese.
Brooks graduated high school in 2008 and began taking classes at University of Maryland University College. After a year of college, Brooks decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.
“I enjoy being here in Japan, however, I would like to be stationed somewhere else and see different things, since I have been here most of my life,” said Brooks.
Brooks advises Marines who speak other languages to take the Defense Language Proficiency Test, not only to receive the extra pay that comes with being able to speak another language, but for the experience of being a translator.
“It’s not only a good experience, but it's interesting translating for other people,” said Brooks.