U.S., Japanese troops training for cold war at North Wind
More than 500 U.S. soldiers and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel are getting a dose of cold-weather warfare training at North Wind 2006, a field-training exercise under way in Iwate Prefecture.
The annual drill includes task forces from the JGSDF’s 21st Infantry Regiment, 9th Division, Northeastern army; and 2-35 Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light), based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. It’s being staged at the Iwatesan Training Area, a JGSDF complex in northeastern Japan.
“It’s important we demonstrate our commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance,” said Capt. Woodje Caldwell, the field training exercise officer for U.S. Army Japan, co-sponsor of North Wind.
Maj. Gen. Elbert N. Perkins, the U.S. Army Japan commander, and Lt. Gen. Hiroyuki Sumi, commander of the JGSDF’s 9th Division, are directing the exercise, which began Feb. 11 and ends Saturday.
Live-fire, ski and snowshoe orientation, urban operations and battle drills have been emphasized to this point. The two sides also rehearsed a platoon attack. On Thursday and Friday, they’re to conduct a company-level raid and cross each other’s lines.
Caldwell said North Wind participation has dipped in recent years due to the war on terrorism and other Army commitments. In peacetime, he said, the session would attract 800 soldiers.
Of the 200 attending this year’s exercise, about 150 are from Hawaii. The remaining troops are mostly support personnel from Sagami Depot’s 35th Supply and Service Battalion, 10th Area Support Group, but assistance also is coming from a small group of South Korea-based medics.