News: Bilateral training benefits all involved
AIBANO TRAINING AREA, JAPAN – Soldiers from 3rd Platoon, 66th Engineer Company out of Schofield Barracks trained side by side with Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Members (JGSDF) in an exercise that focused on identifying and responding to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the Aibano Training Area, Japan, Sunday as part of Orient Shield 12.
“Since U.S. troops have gone to war they have learned everything in combat,” said Sgt. Maj. Masahiro Yamasaki of Mie, Japan. “We get to know what they learned.”
According to Sgt. Kyle Abernatha from Reno, Nev., acting squad leader with the 66th, the transference of knowledge included integrating the JGSDF in movements, showing them what to look for and how to best respond to IEDs. The training ended with the JGSDF moving and finding IEDs and IED indicators by themselves. The JGSDF quickly learned and implemented the training they received, he said.
“They are very quick learners,” said Abernatha. “They pick things up very fast. They totally absorb what you’re giving them. They put their training with our training and create a quick, smooth, and efficient moving formation.”
Although the training conducted consisted of information being passed from soldiers of the 66th to the JGSDF members, the benefit of the training exchange went both ways.
“They move extremely fast,” said Abernatha. “Their violence to action is impeccable. We have definitely picked that up. We work extremely well with our counterparts and know them professionally. So when we go out and work with them we have learned to emulate their sense of urgency in our training.”
Troops from both countries will continue to share training experiences and techniques until the close of Orient Shield 12 on November 7.