US and Japanese troops set to begin annual Orient Shield live-fire exercise across Japan

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force perform a care-under-fire demonstration during Orient Shield 2018 in Miyagi prefecture, Japan.


By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 4, 2019

A thousand U.S. soldiers will drill alongside 750 members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in military training areas all over Japan this month.

The annual Orient Shield exercise, which begins Thursday and runs through Sept. 23, involves members of the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team as well as a multidomain task force, U.S. Army Japan officials said in a statement last week.

The Army first tested a multidomain task force during last summer’s Rim of the Pacific drills in Hawaii. That involved an artillery brigade acting as fires headquarters while integrating with an intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare and space detachment.

Soldiers involved in Orient Shield will practice “reception, staging and onward movement and integration” — the process by which troops and equipment arriving in theater are turned into operational forces, officials said.

Orient Shield will take place at Camp Kengun, headquarters of Japan’s Western Army in Kumamoto, Oyanohara Training Area and Takayubaru Sub Post as well as Camp Amami and Yausubetsu Training Area on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, officials said.

Troops will train with surface-to-air missiles, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, a High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System and UH-60 helicopters, officials said.

Orient Shield is part of the Pacific Pathways initiative, which began four years ago and involves sending Army units to multiple countries to participate in exercises over a 90-day deployment.

Twitter: @SethRobson1

Soldiers with the Indiana National Guard's 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team watch a care-under-fire demonstration by members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Orient Shield 2018 in Miyagi prefecture, Japan.

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