CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The top enlisted leader of U.S. Army Garrison Japan led a class Thursday that offered a comprehensive look at the unit’s mission, demographics and its widely dispersed geographic footprint throughout Japan.
Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio said his presentation, part of an ongoing educational initiative known as “Garrison Academy” offered to USAG Japan employees on roughly a monthly basis, was meant to give attendees a clearer understanding of the scope of the unit’s mission and its impact in the Pacific region.
“I really hope their takeaway was [a better idea of] the garrison’s mission and how their day-to-day activities tie into that overall mission,” Rio said. “I think it’s important to give people the context that what they do matters very much to what we as the Garrison do.”
Each Garrison Academy session has a different member of the unit who acts as the instructor. Past sessions have covered topics such as personal budgeting and building interpersonal relationships, and some have been based on participants’ suggestions.
The classes are typically conducted in English, but Japanese translation is provided, allowing for the widest possible participation. And technology allowed the nearly 100 garrison employees who attended Thursday’s session—including Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and local-national employees—to do so both in person and via computer from locations including Tokyo, Yokohama, Kure and Okinawa.
Rio’s presentation covered USAG Japan’s broad mission and diverse workforce, and included an overview of the 17 installations that fall under the garrison and their respective missions.
Nieva Torii, an information technology specialist assigned to the Information Management Office, said that after attending the session, she has a better understanding of the garrison’s overall logistics and organizational structure. In particular, she became aware of some smaller installations located in remote areas that she previously didn’t know existed.
“It was a great opportunity to see the bigger picture—to know that we harmoniously exist to support each other and to support USAG Japan’s mission, no matter how different each organization’s duties and assignments are,” Torii said.
Rio said he received eager questions during the session and positive feedback afterward. He is looking forward to future Garrison Academy sessions and is eager to see the post-class survey results so that the program can continue to grow and develop.
The Next Garrison Academy session is scheduled to be held March 30 and will cover the topic of how to prevent “burnout” at work by focusing on self-care.