News: Snipers pull the trigger on Orient Shield 12
Story by Spc. Jason Dorsey
IMAZU CITY, Japan - Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division collaborated with Japan Ground Self Defense Force members in sniper training Tuesday as a part of Orient Shield 12.
Orient Shield is an annual, bilateral tactical field training exercise with the JGSDF and the U.S. Army. This is the 13th iteration of the Japan-based exercise series. The exercise is designed to enhance U.S. and Japan combat readiness and interoperability at the tactical level while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrates U.S. resolve to support the security interest of friends and allies in the region.
“The purpose of this sniper training was to train and exchange valuable tactics and techniques between U.S. and Japan forces that will further aid our forces in future contingencies,” said Staff Sgt. Walter Nickel, a native of American Samoa, the sniper section leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 1-14 Infantry.
The sniper training kicked off with U.S. soldiers and JGSDF members engaging in a stalker walk scenario where forces tactically stalked practice targets in order to properly identify enemy targets, said Spc. Jason Carpenter, a native of San Diego, Calif., a reconnaissance sniper with HHC.
A proper stalk starts with the firer approaching his target and stopping within 400 meters. One meter is approximately equivalent to three feet. The target is a man-sized silhouette, and beside each are two “walkers” with lettered cards and a spotting scope. Once the firer settles into his firing position, he fires his first shot.
After the sniper fires, his spotter calls a “walker,” who then attempts to get within 10 feet of the sniper. If the “walker” cannot find the sniper, he holds up a lettered card, which the sniper must identify. Once the sniper properly identifies the letter, he fires his second shot. Then the “walker” attempts to come within five feet of the sniper’s position. If the “walker” cannot locate the sniper, he holds up a second letter. After the sniper identifies the second letter, the mission is deemed successful.
“It was an excellent opportunity for our forces to cross-train and build camaraderie,” said Carpenter.
The next phase in training included a friendly competition between the two forces at the sniper range where they engaged targets at 1,000 meters away.
“Personally I love working with the Japanese because they are very friendly and eager to learn and exchange tactics,” said Joshua Jones, a native of Lyons, N.Y., sniper section team leader, Company B, 1-14 Infantry.
U.S. soldiers utilized the M14 and the M110 while the Japanese used the M24, all three of which are equally efficient weapon systems, explained Carpenter.
After hours of shooting and precise optical adjustments, targets received a battering that led to a victory for the Japan sniper team.
“U.S. and Japanese snipers share similar fundamentals and tactics but ultimately, we both built a stronger friendship during this training exercise,” said Walter.
Orient Shield 12 is slated to end on Nov. 7.