SEPTEMBER 23, 2016, JUNGLE WARFARE TRAINING CENTER, Okinawa, Japan – Since 1958, the Jungle Warfare Training Center has provided terrain and climate-specific training to units serving across the Asia-Pacific region.
This training area made up more than 17,000 acres of mountains and jungle, is the only one of its kin din the entire Department of Defense.
“JWTC is a unique and vital asset to the Marine Corps that allows Marines to train in a jungle environment,” said Cpl. Matthew R. Byrd, an instructor with JWTC. “Marines who come out here get the chance to rappel the cliffs, patrol the jungle as well as get a feel for the tactical considerations of jungle operations. For the past decade, we have been operating primarily in desert climates and terrains, so this is the place Marines train in the jungle so we can operate efficiently in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Throughout the vast expanse of the training area, Marines in training must trek through miles of steep hills, muddy slopes and flooded trenches.
“The terrain here is harsh,” said Byrd, a Raleigh, North Carolina, native. “When Marines train here, they have to break through a lot of mental barriers. The initial shock of getting here and realizing just how much harder simple things like patrolling in the jungle are is a huge jump into the reality of combat operations out here in the Pacific.”
The instructors of JWTC ensure Marines demonstrate proficiency in an array of tactical procedures, such as land navigation, patrolling and field medical care.
“JWTC is designed to carry out every stage of training from classroom instruction to practical application,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Gilbert Corpuz, an independent duty corpsman assigned to the JWTC. “One of the courses covered here is the Jungle Medicine Course, which reinforces Marines’ field medical care skills and highlights some of the potential hazards that are common in jungle operations.”
At the end of each course on JWTC, units in training must complete an endurance course which stretches over three miles of precipitous hills and trenches, along which Marines must overcome 31 obstacles.
“As Marines, we train how we fight,” said Byrd. “When we see a problem, we adapt and overcome. On training day one, we introduce the units to the new environment and we give them the tools they need to adapt to it. Throughout the course, they must overcome mental and physical obstacles. When they complete the culminating event, we know that we have helped them become stronger, more adaptive warriors. Hard training makes hard Marines. It’s a great feeling knowing that they left with more than they came with.”
JWTC is one of the many installations at Okinawa that serve as a vital asset to MCIPAC by supporting MARFORPAC in its combat readiness in the Asia-Pacific Region.