Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

September 8, 2014 at 1:29pm

Rising Thunder Stresses Partnership: Japanese and JBLM soldiers train at Yakima

Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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The back blast from the howitzer instantly raised the fine dry desert dust. 

A 155 mm shell sliced through the warm morning air toward a target miles away - sort of like the way the first sip of a cold beer feels as it goes down on a hot day.

As silence returned and the dust began to slowly settle, seven soldiers assigned to the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), hurried to reload the big gun.

A minute later, the cannon spoke again.

"It's great to be out here in support of Rising Thunder," commented Capt. Edward Mader, a 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson.

"We're here to work with the Japanese in this bilateral training. They are very good soldiers."

>>>  Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Rising Thunder is a multi-echelon combined training exercise being conducted for the 21st time at the Yakima Training Center. (YTC).

"The focus of this exercise is to train combined arms in conjunction with maneuver and firepower," pointed out Col. Takashi Goto, a JGSDF commander, in a press release.

The 12th Brigade is one of six active brigades comprising the JCSDF. Approximately 300 Japanese soldiers are engaged in the two-and-a-half-weeks of training at YTC.

"We will perform comprehensive combat power with combined arms units and train bilaterally between Japan and the US to enhance interoperability."

>>> A Mitsubishi built Type 10 Main Battle Tank of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, maneuvers at the Yakima Training Center during Operation Rising Thunder. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Training began Sept. 2 and will conclude on the 22nd.

Working with the Japanese are approximately 450 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The brigade's part is to facilitate urban assault operations, sniper training and supporting fire training.

"We're pleased to be a part of such an important event," said Lt. Col. Jeff Bryson, 4th Battalion's commander.

"The focus of this year's training is interoperability."

>>> A Japanese soldier rests for a moment during an urban building clearing exercise.Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Off in the distance two Mitsubishi built Type 10 main battle tanks rumbled into positions and opened fire on targets in the distance as JGSDF soldiers engaged in a live fire urban assault exercise.

As the Army readjusts both domestically in terms of a reduction in troops while at the same time realigns its focus on Asia and the Pacific, interoperability is another work for partnership.

>>> Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, greets an officer of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, during Operation Rising Thunder, an annual training exercise between American and Japanese forces. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The stability of the Asian-Pacific region is of interest to both Japan and America.

To meet future challenges, the two country's military forces must bilaterally confront logistics support issues while simultaneously increasing combat power.

"This is about a partnership with America," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, as he toured several training sites and talked to JGSDF and American soldiers.

Joining Lanza on the visit last Saturday morning to YTC were Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander, 7th Infantry Division and Maj. Gen. James Boozer, commander, United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward).

"The training and the building of partnerships being built and the interoperability being practiced are great," said Boozer.

SEE ALSO

I Corps on point in the Pacific

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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