COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, JAPAN -- Since ancient times, warriors of different eras have readied themselves for combat. The Marines in the Asia-Pacific region are no different. With approximately 34,000 acres of training ground at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, they continually prepare to fight tonight.
Approximately 100 Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Regiments 35 and 37 concluded the biannual Fuji Warrior training exercise July 22 at CATC Camp Fuji.
The service members spent two weeks learning how to operate as provisional rifle platoons by focusing on individual skills and small-unit training designed to maintain an organic security capability.
“Marines who are not infantrymen don’t get a lot of opportunities to train with the Marine Corps’ various weapons systems or practice combat-related operations, so the Fuji Warrior training exercise is tailored to do just that,” said Capt. Evan Brashier, an infantry officer with tactics, readiness and training, G-3, operations and training, Headquarters Company, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Every Marine is a rifleman, so it is important that they all possess a basic understanding of the infantry craft and gain the confidence to know what to do in combat.”
The training exercise consisted of force protection, ground attack and combat patrol operations, along with various rifle and machine-gun training, land navigation and grenade familiarization training.
“The best part of the training exercise for me was being able to learn about and employ the weapons systems like the MK19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher and the .50-caliber Browning machine gun because I’ve always wanted to shoot these weapons but never had the chance,” said Sgt. Martin Villagran, a landing support specialist with Landing Support Company, CLR-37, 3rd MLG, III MEF. “I’m leaving CATC Camp Fuji with more confidence and knowledge to properly lead Marines in combat, and that is invaluable.”
The noncommissioned officers of CLR-35 and 37 agreed that the Fuji Warrior training exercise is something that all non-infantry Marines should experience at least once in their career.
“This exercise gave me the opportunity to become more of a team leader, so I had to step up my game and learn as much as I could to effectively lead the Marines subordinate to me in a combat scenario,” said Cpl. Isamar M. Loya, an airborne and air delivery specialist with Landing Support Company, CLR-37, 3rd MLG, III MEF.
The leadership skills and confidence the Marines acquired at CATC Camp Fuji as a result of the training exercise is vital for combat, but it is also something that can be employed in the Marines’ everyday duties, according to Loya.
The culminating event was a night hike to the summit of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji, where the Marines and sailors experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment of watching the sunrise from their position 12,388 feet above sea level.
“The obvious benefit to the Marine Corps is that training like this better prepares combat service support Marines for a combat deployment,” said Brashier. “We want to enhance the ability of these units to be able to provide their own security and, if necessary, security operations for other units. After completing this training, the Marines and sailors all walked away with a renewed confidence and invaluable capabilities.”