Members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistic Center (FLC) Yokosuka joined together at the Chief Petty Officer’s Club onboard Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka this past July to honor the most recent graduate of their joint internship program, as well as welcome their newest intern.
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NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer, Capt. Raymond Bichard (right), pins the new internship nameplate onto Lt. Yuichi Honda, 177th JMSDF-FLCY Intern, as members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Sailors from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka joined together at the Chief Petty Officer's Club on board Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka July 18 to honor the most recent graduate of their joint internship program as well as welcome their newest intern. (Photo by Yohsuke Onda, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka OCC)
The program, which dates back to 1967, has graduated more than 170 Japanese Supply Corps officers, many of whom become senior level professionals in the JMSDF logistics system with three interns having gone on to reach the rank of rear admiral or vice admiral within the JMSDF.
“It is my greatest honor to be a trainee here at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka,” said Lt. Yuichi Honda, 177th JMSDF-FLCY Intern.
Every internship hosted by NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is about seven months in length, and the Japanese junior officers who are selected to attend the program and work alongside their U.S. counterparts are the most elite candidates in their field.
“The program’s rich history is a well-known hallmark of the professional bilateral relationship we have with our Supply Corps partners in the Kaijo-Jetai
(JMSDF),” explained Capt. Raymond Bichard, Commanding Officer, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. “We look forward to continuously building positive relationships with our close partners in the JMSDF.”
JMSDF leaders expressed the importance of the joint internship program as well.
“This program is not only a chance to study the logistics systems of United States Navy but also a chance to build a strong friendship with the staff of NAVSUP FLCY,” said Capt. Kiyoshi Matsuura, Commanding Officer, JMSDF Ship Supply Depot (SSD) and senior JMSDF representative at the graduation. “You can find my name on the trainee list at NAVSUP FLCY’s front office because I was Naval Supply Depot internship student in 1986, and the list reminds me of those days even though more than a quarter century has passed.”
Matsuura told the interns that they must learn to recognize the differences between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF during this program, and to take advantage of this rare and precious experience.
“The knowledge and experience you gain in this program will help you with future obstacles,” Matsuura emphasized. “Don’t forget your experiences and what you obtain here, these will raise you as a good officer.”
The NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Operations Department (Code 430) has welcomed Honda into their ranks, and has begun to introduce him to the U.S. Navy’s way of conducting logistics support.
The Sailors, Marines, Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), U.S. Civil Service (USCS) and contract employees at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provide the daily logistics support to the Navy, Marine Corps, Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal activity customers within the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
As the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka enterprise networks more than 20 sites and fuel terminals from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam.
Story by Sky M. Laron; NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications