For Over Half a Century Naval Supply Leaders Continue to Forge Strong Alliance One Intern at a Time
YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. and Japanese naval supply leaders gathered together Jan. 23 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base to recognize a recent graduate from their joint training program, which dates back to 1952.
U.S. Sailors from Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistic Center (FLC) Yokosuka and members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) have been gathering several times a year for more than six decades to honor the young Japanese supply officers that complete their joint internship program as a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s elite supply commands.
As the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the Sailors, Marines, Japanese Master Labor Contract, U.S. Civil Service and contract employees at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provide the forward deployed maritime warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver fuel, material, mail and supply chain services across the U.S. Navy’s largest geographical area of responsibility (AOR).
This joint internship program has graduated more than 180 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.
“We are committed supply professionals that are continually looking for ways to improve support to our ships and sailors, which is a goal we both share. Additionally, we are part of this great alliance that has been forged over the years between our two countries,” said Capt. Raymond Bichard, Commanding Officer, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. “Our commands have been linked together through this internship program and other training opportunities and I can honestly say that through this relationship we are making a difference in continually strengthening the bond between Japan and America.”
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.
“I would like to thank each of you for everything you have done for me,” said LT Yuuichi Honda, the 181st and most recent graduate of the joint internship program.
Honda shared how he will be taking the logistics knowledge he has gained from his colleagues at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, as well as his friendships, with him as he transfers to his next assignment within the JMSDF.
LT Honda 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).
“As many of you know, our LSRs are (NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s) face to the fleet as the boots on the ground representatives at the deck plate level ensuring our customers have what they need when they need it,” said Bichard. “It is a highly regarded capability of ours and one that I was happy to see one of our interns had the opportunity to master.”
Senior 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 take advantage of this rare experience.
“I desire to expand my knowledge and skills as an officer, so I am truly thankful for such a great opportunity to learn here at Code 500,” said Lt. j.g. Akifumi Hyodoh, the 182nd and newest intern.
The NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Industrial Support Department (Code 500) has welcomed Hyodoh into their ranks and has begun to introduce him to the U.S. Navy’s way of conducting logistics support.
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsup/.