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US Marine Corps, February 22, 2021 - NUMAZU, SHIZUOKA, JAPAN by Katie Gray - Two UH-1N helicopters assigned to the 459th Airlift Squadron conducted landing maneuvers at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji’s Numazu Beach Training Area (NBTA) for the first time, Feb. 18, Shizuoka, Japan.
It was the first time rotor wing aircraft has landed at NBTA, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 John Puckett, CATC Camp Fuji installation gunner.
The helicopters were welcomed by a crowd of curious onlookers, including representatives of the South Kanto Defense Bureau who helps coordinate such events with the local community and other Japanese Self-Defense Force entities.
While the area around the beach is often used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the beach has remained relatively unknown to U.S. forces due to its prior condition and distance from CATC Camp Fuji. The installation’s range operations center has made it a goal to change all of that, and after a cleaning initiative started at the end of last year, this landing maneuver was the first to occur.
“As the installation gunner, it’s very exciting to be involved in so many firsts for Camp Fuji,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Puckett, “This successful landing has opened the door for future operations by [rotor wing] aircraft, as well as future amphibious operations in vicinity of Numazu Beach.”
By increasing training offerings, such as the landing at NBTA, the installation hopes other units will see more opportunities to work with their partners from the joint forces, helping the U.S. and its allies to sustain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.