BY SKY M. LARON, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
U.S. and Japanese naval supply leaders gathered together Jan. 27 onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka to recognize a recent graduate from their Joint training program, which dates back to 1952.
U.S. Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka and members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have been gathering several times each year for more than six decades to honor the young Japanese supply officers who complete their Joint internship program as a member of one of the U.S. Navy's elite supply commands.
The professional men and women of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka represent a rich tradition of military and civilian supply experts who have supported the U.S. Navy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region for over 60 years and have been proud to join with their host-nation counterparts in training future generations of naval supply leaders.
Each internship hosted by NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is approximately 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.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my training,” said Lt. j.g. Yusuke Matsuu, the 185th and most recent graduate of the Joint internship program. Matsuu served in the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka operations department (Code 430), specifically in the logistics support office working alongside U.S. Navy logistics support representatives (LSRs) and earning LSR apprentice status himself, which is no easy feat.
LSRs are NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka's face to the fleet as the "boots on ground" representatives at the deck plate level, ensuring ships have what they need when they need it.
While addressing the incoming intern, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffery Davis said, “You can take pride in following in the footsteps of many successful interns before you to include distinguished program graduate Admiral Yutaka Murakawa, who recently became the 33rd chief of staff of the JMSDF. Truly a reminder of the quality of officers that have participated in this program ... you are in great company.”
Senior JMSDF leaders expressed the importance of the Joint internship program, as well.
“The United States is a very important ally of Japan for our national security, and the U.S. Navy is the most important partner for JMSDF,” said Capt. Hiroki Saigawa, commanding officer, JMSDF Ship Supply Depot (SSD) and senior JMSDF representative at the graduation. “It is necessary for us, JMSDF and U.S. Navy, that we continue to deepen our mutual understanding.”
Saigawa told the newest intern to take advantage of this rare experience.
“It is my greatest honor to be a trainee here at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka,” said Lt. j.g. Moe Shioya, the 186th and newest intern. “I am very happy to be able to experience the U.S. Navy way of logistics.”