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October 21, 2014 at 7:22am

5 Things To Do Today: "The Kill Team," harpist Cynthia Zechmann, "Nickel and Dimed," choral concert ...

Spec. Adam Winfield considered being a whistleblower, as shown in the documentary "The Kill Team." Instead, he ended up on trial and fearing for his life. Photo credit: Dan Krauss/Oscilloscope Laboratories

TUESDAY, OCT. 20 2014 >>>

1. At the heart of every war documentary is an often unspoken question: Why do we fight? Some films suggest that the answer is patriotism or courage. Others point the finger at big business. The Kill Team posits the most disturbing answer of all: Men and women go to war because they like to kill. This gripping documentary unravels the story of the so-called "Kill Team," a group of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan who manufactured combat kills by murdering unarmed civilians in Kandahar province. Catch the film at 1:30 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

2. The melodic sounds of the harp will be featured at the next Music @ 11 recital when Cynthia Zechmann presents selections from her repertoire of Broadway, classical, pop, easy listening and Christian music at, well, 11 a.m. in Kreielsheimer Hall on the Saint Martin's University campus. Zechmann, who began her study of harp when she was 12, is a freelance harpist based in Olympia. She has also performed for President Jimmy Carter, President George Bush, Sr., and at three governor inauguration ceremonies. Zechmann studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and at the Salzedo Harp School in Camden, Maine, for two summers.

3. Whether you're a military spouse looking for work, a transitioning servicemember seeking out the next step or an employer searching for veteran hires, Washington State Service Member for Life Transition Summit can help. The summit will span three days, from Oct. 21-23, across various locations on JBLM - and shuttles will be provided. There are no registration fees due to the summit's generous sponsors.

4. Barbara Ehrenreich's 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is about her cross-country odyssey as a voluntary member of the working poor. Ehrenreich believes that even as poverty rates - and income inequality - climb, it's only getting harder to be poor. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has selected Ehrenreich's groundbreaking study of our nation's working poor for the 2014 Tacoma Reads community reading program. Amanda Westbrooke, host of TV Tacoma's CityLine, will chat with Ehrenreich at 7 p.m. in the Olympic Room at the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch.

5. Four Pacific Lutheran University choral ensembles - Choir of the West, University Chorale, University Singers and Men's Chorus - will take the stage during PLU's Fall Choral Concert at 8 p.m. in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center.

LINK: Tuesday, Oct. 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 10, 2014 at 3:25pm

555th Engineer Brigade conducts Sapper Helocast at American Lake

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter drops soldiers of the 555th Engineer Brigade into American Lake during Sapper Helocast at JBLM, Oct. 9. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Oct. 9 is a chilly, misty morning on American Lake. The water is still. It's quiet and peaceful as a pair of otters play nearby. Then a Ch-47 Chinook helicopter flies in low over the lake. The rotors spray water and kick up wind, violently disturbing the tranquility. One by one, soldiers jump out the back of the helicopter and swim to shore.

The soldiers shiver as they emerge from the lake, shaking and trying to keep warm. "That was awesome!" one of the soldiers shouts as he wades out of the water. Then they load up in vehicles waiting by the shore.

It's time to do it again.

The soldiers are members of the 555th Engineer Brigade, the Triple Nickel. They're conducting a Helocast - a water insertion by helicopter. I witnessed their confidence building exercise. About a quarter of the group is training to go to the elite Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. But more of them are training to go to Sapper School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Sappers are combat engineers. They specialize in building things - and destroying things - under the stress of combat conditions.

>>> Members of the 555th Engineer Brigade wait to board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to conduct a Helocast - a water insertion by helicopter - into American Lake on Oct. 9. Many are training to go to either Ranger or Sapper school. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Master Sgt. Don Batchan is overseeing the exercise. He says it's important for the soldiers to have this experience, and that it's about more than just confidence. He says waterborne insertion is something they may one day have to do on the battlefield. They have to be ready for anything.

Even so, the engineers don't often get opportunities for this sort of training. It's largely reserved for Rangers and Special Forces troops. It's hard to get the helicopter and the rest of the equipment on the same day to pull it off. But every once and awhile the stars align.

"I keep pushing buttons until it goes through," Batchan says.

>>> Master Sgt. Don Batchan / photo credit: Kevin Knodell

He explains the 555th has a 75 percent graduation rate for students it sends to Sapper School. That's a staggering achievement, as the average rate is closer to about 40 percent. Batchan credits intense training and preparation for this unusually high success rate. "We don't want anyone to say they were exposed to anything they weren't prepared for," he says.

>>> Sgt. Robert Parish / photo credit: Kevin Knodell

"You don't get this kind of training unless you're at Bragg," Sgt. Robert Parish tells fellow soldiers as they wait on the lake in their boats. Parish is in charge of safety on the water, leading a mini fleet of boats to grab weak swimmers if they start to struggle - as well as keeping civilian boats from entering the drop zone.

The helicopter comes back, spraying us all with rotor wash as it comes in low, and drops the soldiers into the lake for round two. Many of them are dragging ruck sacks in tow this time. They constantly banter and jeer. Parish shouts out to a young soldier going slower than the others, asking him what's holding him back. "It's just that I don't really feel like swimming today Sergeant!" the soldier replies. Parish cracks a grin.

"I wish I could be out there right now," Parish looks over and tells me. "Those are my guys."

1st Lt. Travis Emery was the first soldier to make the jump. A graduate of air assault school he's no stranger to helicopters. But this is the first time he's jumped into water. "This is definitely the best experience I've had jumping out of a helicopter," the young officer says.

>>> 1st Lt. Travis Emery / photo credit: Kevin Knodell

This experience is important. Emery says he's going to Sapper School next month.

Batchan says he hopes they will be able to do exercises like this far more often. He'd like to see the, do one a year - if not more.

The engineers load up to leave, soaked and tired. As luck would have it, the sun starts to shine through the clouds. "That figures," remarks one of the soldiers. Sgt. Parrish - still dry - looks back at the lake as the others leave.

"Next time, I'm jumping too," he says.

>>> 555th Engineer Brigade Safety Team / photo credit: Kevin Knodell

>>> Soldiers of the 555th Engineer Brigade float in the water to avoid the breeze. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

September 30, 2014 at 2:36pm

Court-martial charges referred against the JBLM soldier accused of killing two unarmed Iraqi teenagers

This just in from I Corps Public Affairs. ...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The general court-martial convening authority for I Corps and JBLM referred court-martial charges on Friday against Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera.  

Charges against Barbera include:

  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 134 - Obstruction of justice.
  • UCMJ, Article 134 - Communicating a threat.

The two charges of murder were dismissed by the general court-martial convening authority.  This decision was made after reviewing the Article 32 report of investigation.

The charges result from an investigation into Barbera's alleged shooting of two civilians near the village of As Sadah, Diyala Province on March 6, 2007.

At the time of the incident, Barbera was assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.  

Barbera is currently assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  He is attached to I Corps for UCMJ purposes.

He is not in pre-trial confinement.

September 26, 2014 at 10:31am

2nd Inf. Div. Artillery (DIVARTY) re-activated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell of the 7th ID hands Col. Philip Raymond and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Cohen the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery's (DIVARTY) unit colors at the unit's re-activation ceremony Sept. 25. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

"We're going back to the future here, it's like I'm looking for the DeLorean," said Col. Philip Raymond, new commander of the newly re-activated 2nd headquarters, better known as a DIVARTY, overseas training for all artillery units supporting the second infantry division.

The unit's long history spans almost a century. Established in 1917, it saw action in both world wars, provided support for American and Korean troops during the Korean War. After the end of the Korean War, it relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington, where it made its home for decades.

But in November 2006 the Army deactivated its DIVARTYs so that artillery assets could be more easily dispersed in support of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "(Artillery units) have gotten used to deploying as modular units," explained Raymond.

But as American forces began drawing down in Iraq, the Army began re-evaluating its organizational needs. In December 2012 Maj. Gen. James McDonald, commander of the Fires Center of Excellence, submitted a proposal to bring back Field Artillery command headquarters.

In his remarks during the DIVARTY's dedication ceremony, Gen. Maj. Terry Ferrell, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, said that this is part of the process of working to "restructure and re-right our forces" in response to the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's about planning for the future.

"So far, the 2nd Infantry Division's DIVARTY is one of three to be reactivated, with more on the way.

Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, the 7th Infantry Division's public affairs officer, explained that "this helps with standardizing training and procedures for units across the region."

>>> Col. Philip Raymond, incoming commander of the newly re-activated 2nd Infantry Division Artillery (DIVARTY) chats with Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza after the unit's reactivation ceremony Sept. 25.

Raymond and his staff will oversee training for all artillery units in Washington and Alaska. This DIVARTY is regionally oriented toward threats in the Pacific Region. "I am laser focused on Korea," said Raymond.

But, he specified that subordinate artillery battalions that answer to the DIVARTY can be deployed elsewhere should the need arise. Raymond said that in an ever changing security environment, they are training for any contingency that may arise.

But as he comes into his new position here, he's not solely focused on threats overseas, but also wants to spend time getting to know his new home at JBLM. He's a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. He recently completed studying at the U.S. Naval War College, and said he and his family are excited for the change in scenery. "We're eager to meet the community," he said.

September 16, 2014 at 2:55pm

Remembering Our POWs and MIAs: JBLM hosts commemorative ride

Thirty-three bikers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord took part in a ride honoring the 2014 POW/MIA Remembrance Week. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The bikers showed up.

Some rode in individually; others rode in groups of two or three.

All represented Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's one team, one fight, right?" commented Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Morain as we stood in a parking lot next to Memorial Grove at McChord Field and watched as the riders gathered.

Morain welcomed the airmen and soldiers as they climbed off their Harleys and Hondas.

"I wanted to do something here at JBLM in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day, and the opportunity to do so just presented itself," he added.

Traditionally observed across the country on the third Friday of September, it is a time for Americans to remember those who were prisoners of war (POWs) or are still missing in action (MIA) and their family members.

The symbol of the day is the POW/MIA Flag.

Designed in 1971 during the Vietnam War by Newt Heisley to honor POWs and MIAs, he created a simply black and white flag featuring a guard tower, barbed wire and the visage of a gaunt young man.

Other than the American flag, the POW/MIA flag is the only one to ever fly over the White House.

More than 78,000 Americans are unaccounted for from World War II; more than 8,100 are unaccounted for from the Korean War, and over 2,500 are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

"We gather here today to remember our POWs and MIA individuals," said Senior Master Sgt. Sean Judkins.

"They have displayed the core values of our Armed Forces - loyalty, duty respect selfless service, honor courage, integrity commitment, excellence and devotion to duty."

After a short safety briefing by Judkins, the riders headed out to share hot dogs and stories with veterans at the Washington State Soldiers Home in Orting.

>>> Spc. Benjamin Thibodeau, 551st Medical Logistics Company, prepares for a Remembrance Ride to the Washington State Soldiers home in Orting. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"We ride in their name and honor," said Spc. Benjamin Thibodeau, 551st Medical Logistics Company.

For a schedule of events for POW/MIA Remembrance Week, visit www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/calendar.html.

September 16, 2014 at 2:03pm

Joint Base Lewis-McChord battalions to participate in the Great American Picnic in Puyallup

Friendly rivalry is alive and well in the South Sound and next week, it'll ramp up in Puyallup.

"We are very excited to be hosting the 2nd Annual Great American Picnic this year," said Sarah Harris, Puyallup Parks & Recreation director.

The picnic, which will occur Sept. 27, is a joint effort between the city of Puyallup and the city of Sumner when they also partner with the 504th Military Police Battalion and 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Attendance will be divided by city of residence and military affiliation so that two teams will face off in flag football, softball, basketball and volleyball, as well as a tug-of-war. Puyallup residents and members of the 504th MP BN should wear a black T-shirt, while Sumner residents and members of the 13th CCSB should wear a white T-shirt. 

"We have asked city staff and members of the community to come out and play or cheer on the city of Puyallup and city of Sumner teams in order to support the troops and help welcome them into the community," stated Harris.

The afternoon will also have field games, from sack races to a water balloon toss, and even a delicious scone eating content. Food and drink will be available for purchase but everyone is also welcome to bring their own picnic lunches.

Pre-registration is recommended for each event and should be completed by Sept. 19. Residents can compete in multiple events. Puyallup residents can register at http://tinyurl.com/pk79tks and Sumner residents can register at www.ci.sumner.wa.us.   

The Great American Picnic will kick off at noon at the Puyallup Valley Sports Complex, 808 Valley Ave. NW. For inclement weather updates, call 253.841.5519 after 8 a.m. the day of the event. For more information, call the Puyallup Recreation Center at 253.841.5457.

September 15, 2014 at 4:21pm

1-37 Field Artillery Regiment NCOs focus on leadership, resiliency

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Quintanilla, C Battery, 1-37 37th FA Reg., demonstrates the proper position of an exercise during a Physical Readiness Training refresher course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

Professional athletes are known for their commitment to excellence. Physicality is only one aspect of their success. In order for the quarterback of a football team to be put his team in the position to win, he has to study his game - which often means that he watches hours of film. 

Similarly, an effective Army leader has to know their own strengths and weaknesses. But how does that leader scrutinize their own performance as a leader and a team member?

For the noncommissioned officers from 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, the answer was Comprehensive Soldier & Family Fitness training. The CSF2 program teaches skills related to resilience and enhanced performance to improve the professional and personal lives of Soldiers and their families.

The NCOs took part in a two-day course on effective leadership development and a Physical Readiness Training refresher course. Topics centered on situations the NCOs would encounter on a day-to-day basis from supplements usage to how adopt a leader philosophy with a heavy emphasis on group participation and discussion.

>>> Sgt. Pierce Burkhart, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, finishes an iteration of the rower during a Physical Readiness Training refresher course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

"We believe that where the rubber meets the road is with the staff sergeants and the sergeants first class. If we can work with them, we can make a (big impact) within the unit," said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Quintanilla, assigned to C Battery, 1-37 FA. Quintanilla is the battalion master fitness and master resiliency trainer and also an instructor for the PRT portion of the course.

Quintanilla said the NCOs possessed the main of the traits of strong leadership - empathy, confidence, and tactical and technical knowledge, but this training was designed to add to that base. He compared it to tightening a shot group at the weapons range: focused practice breeds meaningful results.

For PRT, he said that it's also important that soldiers understand the reason behind the movements. PRT is designed to mimic combat movements and to prevent injuries. If the movements are done correctly, they have a big impact on the soldier's ability to function in a combat zone with the added weight of their gear.

Additionally, Quintanilla said morning PRT sessions are the perfect opportunity to set the tone for the workday.

"This is how we kick off our day. I feel that if we are doing the right thing at 6:30 am, we'll carry that momentum throughout the rest of the day. We can't start the day by cutting corners," he said.

Quintanilla said more than 19 years into his career and several iterations of the course, he continues to learn from CSF2, his peers and even the most junior soldiers.

Sgt. Zachary Hoffman, an artilleryman with C Battery, 1-37 FA, and one of the NCOs taking the course, found that it was a chance to hear honest critique about his leadership style and to learn new skills for counseling and working with his soldiers.

"I didn't think this training would be that beneficial to me, because I was confident before, but I've learned a lot about communication. On how to be a clear, positive speaker and receiver," said Hoffman.

He said it was important to be flexible. Each member of the team might have an opinion on how to make a mission happen, but the role of the leader is to find the best way and then see that it gets done.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin is with the 19th Public affairs Detachment.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Raymond White, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and other noncommissioned officers conduct Physical Readiness Training as part of a two-day leader development course. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

September 10, 2014 at 8:52am

McChord Field honors National POW/MIA Recognition Day with a week of activities

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 19.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Friday, Sept. 19, but at Joint Base Lewis-McChord - McChord Field the respects begin Sept. 15 at Memorial Grove and conclude Sept. 19 at The Club at McChord Field Ballroom. The annual recognition is to remember and honor those who have sacrificed so valiantly for their country.

The week of recognition starts at 11 a.m. with a wreath laying ceremony at McChord Field's Memorial Grove - honoring and paying respects to all POW/MIAs, past and present. If bad weather ensues the ceremony will be moved into the adjacent building.

Motorcyclists will gather at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at Memorial Grove for their annual ride. Last year this was one of the more popular motorcycle rides in the Northwest. It presents a chance for veterans to meet new friends and renew acquaintances with old ones.

People looking for something more physically energetic can meet at 8 a.m. Sept. 17 for a 24-hour Memorial Run at the McChord Field Track. It's open to all members of the JBLM community. This is a fundraising event. For more information, call 253.982.3339.

The week of events winds up Sept. 19 for a POW/MIA luncheon at The Club at McChord Field Ballroom. RSVP required. For information, call 253.982.7161.

In Viet Nam, 2,338 military personal were originally listed as missing in action. Over the years some bodies have been identified leaving 1,875 military personnel still unaccounted for. It is a tradition for Americans to recover their dead but due to the difficult terrain in Viet Nam, bodies were often challenging to locate. Military personnel just yards apart often disappeared into the jungle and foliage.

Numbers of POWs were relativity small in Viet Nam given the size of the forces employed. The Vietnamese held 766 military personal in captivity, the largest number being pilots and crewmen downed over Hanoi. While in prisons, 114 died of wounds. The small number of captured was more a result of logistics rather than brutality. Guerilla forces, often moving fast and light, had no capacity to take prisoners and captives were often eliminated. 

Remembering MIAs and POWs has become a tradition. JBLM-McChord Field is proud to host the events.

September 9, 2014 at 7:50am

Tuesday Morning Joe: ISIS in US, Homeland Security vs Ebola, US military brain drain, atmospheric CO2 at high ...

An Afghan National Police-Provincial Response Company member readies a coffee pot before other PRC members enter a simulated room during a training session at Forward Operating Base Kutschbach, Afghanistan. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.9.14 >>>

President Obama will go on the offensive against the Islamic State group with a broader counterterror mission than he previously has been willing to embrace.

Degrading, defeating and destroying the Islamic State.

A longtime CIA operative in the Middle East - whose sources are probably as good as you can get - says "I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper-cells in this country."

Helped by the United States and Iran, Kurdish forces and Shi'ite militia are finally beating back Islamic State militants. But the aftermath illustrates the unintended consequences of the U.S. air campaign against Islamic State.

Iran has detained three foreigners suspected of trying to join ISIS forces in neighboring Iraq.

A spokesman for Steven Sotloff's family told CNN the journalist was captured by "so-called moderate rebels" in Syria then sold to ISIS

U.S. and China discuss avoiding military incidents.

U.S. officials believe Russia may have tested a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Soviet-American treaty.

Not Good: A federal investigation has found that Homeland Security is totally "ill-prepared" for something like the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic - or something worse, such as a global Ebola outbreak.

By The Numbers: U.S. military brain drain.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald launches 100-day VA reform plan.

U.S. House could vote this week to avert government shutdown.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he plans to forge ahead with bureaucratic Pentagon reform initiatives despite the uptick of global threats and military activities in recent months.

"Aurora Monsoon" was the first-ever platoon-level bilateral exchange between soldiers of the U.S. Army and the Bangladesh army at the Rajendrapur Cantonment Area near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Steadfast Javelin II was a large-scale, joint, multinational exercise held on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which included aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

DARPA released a video of what its engineers have in mind for its next generation armored vehicle.

Taxpayers cover Coast Guard private-party patrols.

The U.S. Air Force is bringing back its "Aim High" advertising slogan after a 15-year hiatus with the launch of the "I am an American Airman" recruiting campaign Sept. 8.

All eyes in the tech world are turning to Cupertino, California, today as Apple makes its biggest product announcements of the year.

One For The Record Books: Maibam Itomba Meitei has spent 14 years perfecting his record - the most consecutive pinky pullups!

Bad trip: This man pulls out of his garage and straight into a tornado.

Atmospheric CO2 increases have hit a 30-year high.

List: Top earning authors of 2014.

Finally: The size of dinosaurs compared to airplanes, visualized.

Dagnabbit kids!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

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

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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