University students tour U.S. assault ship on sea

March 27th, a U.S. Armed Forces DVIDS ran a story of a group of college students from the Okinawa International University and the University of the Ryukyus on a U.S. military organized tour of the amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard during the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Spring Patrol on the sea. The students were transferred to the ship from MCAS Futenma on an MV-22B Osprey.

A report of the tour was also published on Marine’s facebook page.

According to the website, the students observed MH60S Sea Hawk and amphibious and heavy equipment on the ship, toured its hospital ward and operating room, and got explanations of the ship’s capabilities and operations during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The U.S. Consulate General Naha organized the tour, and invited 15 college students who are over 20-year-old to the tour labeled “US Marine Corps Experience Tour for Okinawa College Students!” The students participated as individuals.

Manabu Sato, a professor at Okinawa International University, saw the tour problematic, saying, “The tour is going to be used as a Marine Corps’ commercial in a very decided manner. We have to tell real function of the U.S. Marine Corps and Osprey aircraft to our students.”

The dean of the University of the Ryukyus, Hajime Oshiro, said, “To observe is a good thing. But I hope the students learn thoroughly and from all sides.”

The nine deans of colleges in Okinawa have sent a demand to cancel the flights of Osprey aircraft to both the Government of Japan and the U.S. after an Osprey fell on a reef at the Abu district of Nago City in December last year.