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Story by Sky M. Laron
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistic Center (FLC) Yokosuka joined together at the Officer’s Club onboard Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Jan. 24 to honor the most recent graduate of their joint internship program.
"I appreciate the support provided to me by NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, I had a great experience," said Lt. Jumpei Nakagawa, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka - JMSDF Internship Program graduate. “I will make use of this training experience.”
As a member of FLC Yokosuka's Far East Contracting Department, Nakagawa’s seven months of training focused on observing, researching and participating in the processes of contracting operations, which ensures fleet readiness throughout the Asia Pacific.
The internship 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 or vice admiral within the JMSDF.
“For our young supply officers, working with the U.S. Navy on a daily basis like this, is the most important part of their training,” said Capt. Kiyoshi Matsuura, Commanding Officer, JMSDF Ship Supply Depot (SSD) and senior JMSDF representative at the graduation. “The U.S. Navy is the most important partner with the JMSDF and we will continue to deepen and enhance our relationship.”
Having graduated more than two decades ago from the very same internship program, Matsuura believes the continued success of the program to be quite important and encourages every participant to, “Go for broke.”
“Lieutenant Nakamura has learned how the U.S. Navy has more flexibility in their contracting process than we do with the JMSDF,” said Matsuura. “He will be off to his new assignment and will be able to use the skills he has learned with NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka.”
Every 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.
“We have a very long history with our Supply Corps partners in the JMSDF,” said Capt. Marty Fields, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer. “This bilateral training opportunity is a benefit to the young Japanese officers who participate and learn new skills but also for our entire command as well as the JMSDF, which then creates a stronger bond between our organizations.”
Nakagawa’s time at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has ended but the next JMSDF intern was soon ushered in as Lt. j.g. Tomotake Yamaguchi was introduced to his new shipmates in NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Fuel Support Department.