For the past 48 years, the U.S. and Japan have worked together and conducted missile live-fire exercises during the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Annual Service Practice here.
“Missile training isn’t able to take place in Japan because of range restrictions,” said Maj. Gen. Hisakazu Kakegawa, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, or JGSDF, Air Defense Artillery School commandant. “Since there is no place in Japan to conduct this kind of exercise, we have been conducting the training for the last 48 years [near] Fort Bliss (Texas) at McGregor Range.”
According to Michael Radford, Unit Training and Certification Division chief, the Chu-Sam and Hawk missile ASP, which began Sept. 29 and is on-going through Dec. 15, provides 17 JGSDF fire units the opportunity to test their equipment, validate their training, and gain confidence in their weapon systems by conducting live-fire exercises.
“The ASP is important because it shows our ally that we’re confident in their ability to effectively fire their Chu-Sam and Hawk missile systems,” Radford said. “The ASP gives the JGSDF units confidence in their weapon systems and their ability to support allies and defend their country.”
Kakegawa agreed with Radford’s statements that live-fire exercises provide indispensable learning tools that soldiers can take back to Japan to improve their operational capabilities and readiness.
Although the soldiers are here to train, Kakegawa said he wanted them to experience the U.S. culture by interacting with as many people as possible and exploring the local area.
“Through those experiences, I believe they can enlarge their view of life,” he explained.
“Teamwork is the key to accomplishing the mission,” Kakegawa said. “On behalf of the JGSDF personnel of past, current and future, I appreciate very much our counterparts and host families for supporting our training. Thank you very much.”