ITEM CO. 3/3
Camp Fuji, Japan

We stayed aboard the CALVERT (APA 32) and sailed on 23 June, 1953, we arrived San Diego, CA. on 30 June, 1953. Then we returned to the 25 area (back to the tents) at Camp Pendleton. On 13 Aug., 1953 we embarked aboard USNS Marine Serpent (T-AP 202) at San Diego, CA. bound for Camp Fuji, Japan, we arrived and disembarked at Yokohama, Japan on 29 Aug. 1953.

Camp Fuji was on the lower slopes of Japan's sacred mountain, Mount Fujiama. 3rd Marine Regimental Headquarters and one infantry battalion were located at Middle Camp, one battalion at North Camp and one at South Camp. The 3rd Battalion First went to South Camp and in November we moved to Middle Camp. Our attached artillery battalion went to Camp McNair, further up the slopes of Mt Fuji. We were quartered by Sept 4th, 1953. We lived in old one story wooden Japanese barracks; that was nice for us short people and a problem for the tall ones. The mess hall was a field unit and we had to wash our mess gear in coal oil heated GI cans after each meal. There was a furnace house between each two barracks that supplied hot water from coal furnaces. The 187th Army Regimental Combrt Team assigned to our Provisional Corps, as well as the Army 56th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, had already seen combat in Korea in 1950, the early days of the war. We began training on the rolling slopes of Mt Fuji, or"Fuji-san": as we called her. Came the winter, cold with a heavy blanket of both snow and fog. The nearest town to our South Camp was the town of Gotemba, which soon became the hub of our night life. Our company Staff NCO's made it's weekend sorties at the Shizura Hotel which was a military Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Hotel in the city of Shizura, Japan, about a 50 minute train ride from our camp, and soon, the hotel staff grew to know us well. By now our Provisional Corps had been joined by the Army's 2d Amphibious Support Brigade, which had just joined us after a 5 month tour in Korea. At Fuji we trained with tank, artillery and air units.

While we were at South Camp, Capt. Resleure was transferred out. I am not sure when he took over, it was probably when we went to Hawaii. Capt. Clark Ashton became our CO at that time.

We arrived at Camp Fuji by Japanese train from the city of Yokohama. Japanese trains are notorious for arriving and departing to the exact minute, so, as soon as the train stopped, train windows went up, seabags were tossed out the open windows, then there was a mad dash to get off the train, before it started again. The town, Fujioka, was off limits so for liberty we had a path from the main gate to the train station, about 100 yards where we caught the train. The train was an experience, It went to Tokyo, it was a narrow gauge (small) train and it went through about 4 tunnels. The first trip up the mountain the Japanese on the train were closing the windows on a hot day (the train was not air conditioned) and we were opening the windows. Then we found out what it was like to go through a tunnel being pulled by a small coal fired steam engine going up hill with the windows open. After that when the Japanese closed the windows we helped them, the windows didn't help much. There was one place that the train crossed a road, there was no signal but they had a man with a lantern stopping traffic each time we went by.

While we were at South Camp Fuji the 3rd Bn was responsible for camp security so we had to supply the camp security detachment, and we also had a post at the city water supply, off the base. In November we moved to Middle Camp Fuji. The town at Middle Camp Fuji was named Itazuma and it was not off limits so we could pull liberty there. We had to go through the town to get to the field for training.

While we were at Fuji we had two landing exercises, Operation RLTLEX III 54 at Kin Beach on Okinawa and MARDIVLEX 1-54 March 21-April 1 at Iwo Jima.

Contact ITEM Co 3rd MARINES 1951-54
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