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3d Marine Division


3d Marine Division

The Fighting Third

Okinawa, Japan
Artillery Relocation Training Program 18-4

By Lance Cpl. Christian Ayers | 10th Marine Regiment | March 5, 2019

3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment participates in the Artillery Relocation Training Program 18-4 from Jan. 31 to Feb. 26 in the Ojojihara Maneuver Area, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. ARTP 18-4 provides the Marines with essential live-fire training to increase their warfighting capabilities and to better support the U.S.-Japan alliance. ARTP is a routine training exercise conducted in accordance with all range safety requirements and prior agreements between the two governments.

Marines take several safety measures to be absolutely confident in where each round will land. “We check each projectile, propellant, fuse, primer and deflection quadrant to ensure the complete accuracy of that particular round,” stated Sgt. Jordan Johnson, a Howitzer Chief. As complex as an artillery battery is, each component has its own particular safety measures.

There are three main components of an artillery battery: the forward observers, the fire direction center and the M777 Howitzers. “An artillery battery is like the human body. Our forward observers are the eyes, the fire direction center is the brain, and our howitzers are the muscles,” said Lt. Col. Richard Robinson, the battalion commander of 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines. The training conducted at ARTP allows the Marines to effectively employ the various components of a battery in a field environment.

As much as these Marines are warfighters in the field, they do not hesitate to lend a helping hand. The Marines volunteered at Ohiramanyo Kindergarten and a local special needs home. This opportunity allowed Marines to establish bonds with the local community and strengthen the relationships between our two nations. “We are strengthening our relationship with the locals through giving back to the community,” said Lt. Johnson Folahan, the chaplain for 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines. The Marines volunteered to give back to the community that has been their gracious host for almost 20 years.

Artillery Relocation Training Program is a Japanese-funded exercise which has been occurring for over two decades and provides the Marines with the opportunity to conduct live-fire training in Japan.