Hawaii Stryker unit lifts off for air assault
By Spc. Jason Dorsey

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Cpl. Sean Fisney of Olyphant, PA, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, provides perimeter security alongside members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force for an aircraft during air assault training during Orient Shield 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Jason Dorsey)
AIBANO TRAINING AREA, JAPAN Soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, assembled with members of the 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division, Middle Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, to engage in its first day of air assault training Monday during Orient Shield 12.

The bilateral objectives of Orient Shield 12, a 13-year-old U.S. Army Pacific exercise, are to conduct and improve combined operations, combat readiness and interoperability with the JGSDF at the tactical level.

JGSDF members provided four UH-1JUH helicopters for the training, which took place at Aibano Training Area. U.S. soldiers and JGSDF members rehearsed the procedures to effectively secure a landing zone for aircraft loading and unloading personnel.

Perimeter security is a 360-degree formation of troops lying in the prone position with their weapons ready to neutralize any enemy threat. They formed a circle around the landing zone where a helicopter landed to drop off personnel, who then tactically and rapidly moved to their designated meeting point.

Both forces exercised this routine while at the same time providing acute security for each other during boarding and un-boarding the aircraft.

"Approximately 100 U.S. soldiers and 80 JGSDF members participated in training," said Capt. Chad Chapman of Wasilla, Ark., Commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment.

"Working alongside the Japanese during this exercise has assisted us in better cultural training and cohesion," said Chapman. "Even with a cultural barrier and difference in force tactics, both forces were able to carefully and accurately carry out today's training in an effective and safe manner."

Pfc. Noricole Hanson of Phoenix, Ariz., an infantryman with Company B, found the training useful and enjoyable.

"It was an enjoyable experience working with the Japanese because it was great to observe how they train and apply their tactics in a working environment," he said.

U.S. soldiers and JGSDF members shared not only tactical skills, but also cultural differences.

"The Japanese are so hospitable and grateful with our presence here and I would love to incorporate more of their incredible discipline into our own training platform," Chapman said.