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February 7, 2014

Japanese Soldiers train at National Training Center for first time

Major Gen. Ted Martin, commander of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, presents an NTC baseball cap to Col. Kazuhiro Yoshihara, deputy commander of Fuji Training Center, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force.

In a first-ever deployment of its kind, members of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force trained at the National Training Center during the January rotation.

Global operational tempo of United States military forces in previous years made it difficult to schedule JGSDF units into the NTC training calendar. Japanese military planners persisted and finally realized their goal last month. It was a trip eight years in the making.

Approximately 180 JGSDF Soldiers from the Fuji Training Center near Mt. Fuji arrived Jan. 11 to partner with the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, during its four-week NTC training rotation. The Japanese were fully integrated into the training activities of the 3-2 SBCT and will be taking back to Japan training experiences not available there. The Fuji Training Center is the only one of its kind in Japan and is similar to the NTC, but on a smaller scale.

“This is a very different training environment for us,” said Lt. Col. Nobuyuki Ishii, the lead staff officer of Ground Staff Office (equivalent to Army Department headquarters). “In Japan, the maneuver area is limited and in a much smaller area. Not only is this a larger physical environment, suitable for large scale training, but we think the experience in a harsh, desert environment will toughen our Soldiers.”

“The objective is to improve our unit maneuverability and capabilities, and to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese,” Ishii said.




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