|Yama Sakura 61||HOMEPAGE|
The driving force behind Yama Sakura 61|
By Spc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
At Camp Itami, Mr. Tom Johnson, chief of transportation for U.S. Army Japan, is in charge of the movement control teams responsible for a variety of transportation related tasks in support of Yama Sakura 61.
Johnson's daily duties involve but are not limited to drivers' training, route orientation, coordinating bus schedules, and creating passenger itineraries.
Yama Sakura 61 is Johnson's eighth Yama Sakura exercise, and this is his second time working here at Camp Itami.
"Even though I've been to Camp Itami before, the job is always changing," said Johnson, "The routes may have changed, or we might need different equipment to be shipped."
Staff Sgt. Cory Tichenor, movement control team operations sergeant assigned to Camp Itami, works hand-in-hand with Johnson to ensure that military personnel arrive and depart safely to and from their respective destinations.
For Tichenor, this is his second Yama Sakura exercise while stationed in Japan.
"The best part of the job is helping people transition from their regular duty station to the Yama Sakura exercise," said Tichenor, "I like being the first friendly face our personnel see upon arriving at the airport."
Being part of the movement control team gives the team members a chance to interact with members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, as well as military personnel from all over the globe.
"Without transportation, the Yama Sakura exercise wouldn't be possible at all. Military components wouldn't be able to have their equipment, their troops or anything vital to making the exercise a success," said Tichenor.
Johnson said members of the movement control team are of utmost importance in making Yama Sakura a success.
"My favorite part of the exercise is having the opportunity to interact and take care of the soldiers and their counterparts," said Johnson, "I like knowing that I helped everyone arrive and depart safely."
Yama Sakura 61 is a computer-based training exercise for U.S. Army Japan and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. A major part of the exercise is the service members participating in the exercise and the equipment they will be using throughout the mission.
This year's annual Yama Sakura exercise is the largest bi-lateral exercise between the U.S. Army Pacific and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force since the Great Tohoku Earthquake that occurred in March 2011.