Okinawa, Japan. (August 20, 2023): In this photo by Corporal Alora J. Finigan, Marine Corporal Matthew Kamm, left, a transmission systems operator, and Lance Corporal Ali Fish, right a data systems administrator, both with Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, load debris into a seven-ton truck at Camp Courtney, Okinawa after Typhoon Khanun. The typhoon struck the island in early August with category 4 hurricane high winds, heavy rain, and high seas in one of the strongest storms to hit Japan in years.
Immediately after the storm, Marines moved out across the island to assess damage and begin repairs to ensure the III Marine Expeditionary Force remains operational. Typhoon Khanun went on to pummel the west coast of the Korean Peninsula causing widespread flooding and at least two deaths.
Camp Courtney is named after Major Henry A. Courtney who was killed in action on Okinawa and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Courtney hailed from Duluth, Minnesota and received his law degree from Loyola University before the outbreak of war.
Major Courtney fought at the battles of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands before participating in the invasion of Okinawa and what would become known as the battle for Sugar Loaf hill. This group of three small knolls were honeycombed with well dug in enemy forces and each could defend the other with interlocking fields of fire. While these unassuming little hills did not appear to be anything more than a bump in the road to the Marines, they would soon find themselves fighting for their lives.
While serving as executive officer of a battalion of the 22nd Marines, 6th Marine Division, Major Courtney led a successful night attack against Sugar Loaf hill when he was killed in action after exhibiting great courage and self-sacrifice. He is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.
When the guns finally fell silent on Okinawa, more than 240,000 people had lost their lives with America suffering 49,151 casualties. Of those, 12,520 were killed or missing and 36,631 were wounded in action.
Today, Camp Courtney is home to the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) which is the most forward-deployed Marine unit in the Indo-Pacific. They conduct operations ranging from amphibious assaults to lending humanitarian assistance. The III Expeditionary participates in up to 65 combined arms exercises a year with allies Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Philippines.