Military parade will wrap up Stryker brigade’s training in Japan
By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 20, 2016
Eighty soldiers and eight armored personnel carriers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., will join a Tokyo military parade next week after wrapping up nearly two months of training with their Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces counterparts.
Troops and vehicles from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division took part in the allies’ annual Orient Shield drills near Osaka that involved 1,600 U.S. and Japanese personnel, before traveling earlier this month to Marine Corps base Camp Fuji for more time in the field.
During Orient Shield, the Stryker soldiers fired mortars and machine guns during simulated attacks in armored personnel carriers and helicopters. The exercise, which began Aug. 29 as part of the Army’s Pacific Pathways initiative, also involved about 600 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The soldiers then moved to the expansive Fuji Maneuver Area near Tokyo to sharpen their squad- and platoon-level tactics and battle drills.
“Working with the Japanese was a great experience, and we learned a lot about each other,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Konieczny, a platoon leader with B Company, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. “It’s great to come out here, just as a company, and focus on small-unit tactics without sweating the big details.”
Details like housing and feeding the soldiers and fueling the Stryker infantry carrier vehicles and providing ammunition for both blank and live-fire exercises were handled by the roughly 200 Marines stationed at Camp Fuji.
“The Marines have been very helpful and made it much easier for us to focus on our battle drills,” Konieczny said.
Soldiers and Marines also compared tactics, techniques and procedures for fighting in urban terrain.
Sunday’s parade is part of Japan’s Review of Self-Defense Forces at Asaka Training Area on the border of Tokyo and Saitama prefectures. The review will also feature aerial displays of U.S. and Japanese aircraft.