BY SKY M. LARON, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
Commanding Officer, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka, Capt. Raymond Bichard toured the National Defense Academy of Japan (NDA) or Boueidaigakko Nov. 9 at Kurihama, Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The campus is perched atop Obaradai Plateau, 85-meters above sea level and consists of 30 buildings that have the green hills of Boso Peninsula at its back and directly faces Tokyo Bay.
The NDA opened its doors in 1953 and is the only integrated institution to train the Army, Navy and Air force cadets as future Japan Self Defense Force leaders.
“It was important for me to make the trip out here,” said Bichard. “With several of my colleagues, in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), who are alumni of NDA, extending invitations, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was able to observe this first rate institution.”
As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1990, Bichard saw the trip as an opportunity to see the differences and similarities between the two institutions.
“This is also where many of my interns, junior JMSDF officers, received their induction into the military,” said Bichard. “I appreciate gaining a better understanding of their backgrounds and training.”
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and JMSDF have been partnering together for more than six decades to train Japanese supply officers in their joint internship program, as a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s elite supply commands.
Bichard and several of his senior officers in attendance were initially greeted by Rear Adm. Hideki Yuasa, NDA director of training.
“My responsibility is to train all these students,” said Yuasa, adding that the responsibility of NDA was to ensure that every cadet in attendance developed their leadership and personality. Although the visitors’ tour began at 10:00 a.m., for the students who call this academy on the bluff home, the day started much earlier.
Reveille or first call ushers in a new day, as bugles bellow their familiar refrain hundreds of feet hit the deck and racks are immediately stripped bare of bedding. What seconds ago was a silent barracks filled with Japan’s future Self Defense Force leaders is now a hive of activity with these future officers clamoring to make it outside in time. Rain or shine these men and women join together to begin their day. Formation is called, everyone falls in. The time…zero six-hundred (0600).
One highlight for Bichard and his team was to enjoy lunch with a Midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy who was taking part in an exchange semester at the NDA.
After lunch and touring much of the facility to include classrooms, the library and the official NDA museum, the American visitors stood on the main campus stairs, which lead up to the clock tour. It was from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and JMSDF have been partnering together for more than six decades to train Japanese supply officers in their joint internship program, as a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s elite supply commands. this vantage point that Bichard could review the cadets as they passed information along their way to late afternoon classes.
“It was a pleasure for members of my ward room and I to view the training and historic facility,” said Bichard. “Opportunities of bi-lateral and cross cultural exchange abound in Japan and learning what you can from our host-country and their naval leaders is something that I will treasure and take with me, long after I leave Japan.”