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NEWS | Dec. 13, 2022

US-Japan hosts Yama Sakura 83, focuses on realistic command post training

By Staff Sgt. JaNae Jensen U.S. Army Japan

 Approximately 5,700 members of the U.S. Department of Defense and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducted Exercise Yama Sakura 83, a U.S. Army Pacific Operation Pathways exercise, Nov. 28 to Dec. 13.

Yama Sakura 83, the largest and most complex forward U.S.-Japan command post exercise to date, allowed participants from multiple units across Japan and the U.S. to bolster the two nations' interoperability in rigorous but realistic scenarios.

“YS83 marks the 42nd iteration of this annual exercise that began in 1982, and America’s First Corps has participated in Yama Sakura for the past 27 years,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. J.B. Vowell, U.S. Army Japan commander. “Despite the many years of this exercise, its purpose has not changed.”
While the two commands campaigned together, they employed Japan’s cross-domain operations and the U.S. Army’s multi-domain operations concepts and doctrine.

The JGSDF Ground Component Command conducted the mission at the operational level by providing command and control to the Western Army at Camp Kengun in Kyushu, and the Northern Army at Camp Higashi-Chitose in Hokkaido.

Standing with the GCC and the Western and Northern Army, America’s First Corps provided command and control to the 11th Airborne Division and the 7th Infantry Division, as well as the 3rd Marine Division.

“The Ground Staff Office designs Exercise YS83 as well as all of Japan-U.S. bilateral and multilateral exercises,” said Lt. Gen. Tadao Maeda, commanding general, GCC, JGDSF. “We as operational HQs mainly conduct staff activities and have two elements. The first element is train in a realistic scenario, and the second element is adding future combat elements, which goes a little bit far from realism.”

Since its inception, Yama Sakura has focused on the development and refinement of joint force lethality between the U.S. Army and JGSDF. This year, units across the Joint Force continued that development, filling a bigger role in the exercise compared to previous years.

JGSDF and 3rd Marine Division members coordinated operations at the Bilateral Ground Tactical Coordination Center during Yama Sakura. Participants from the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet and Fifth Air Force enhanced interoperability with their Japan Self Defense Forces counterparts in the exercise.

“America’s First Corps provided command and control to the 7th Infantry Division, 11th Airborne Division and the 3rd Marine Division. “Our participation in this exercise highlights our commitment to the security of both Japan and the United States,” said Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, I Corps commanding general, “Overall, Yama Sakura 83 served as an extension of our efforts to maintain readiness and interoperability. It focused on the development and refinement of U.S. and Japanese multi-domain and cross-domain operations through a complex, realistic command post training exercise. It enabled our militaries to exchange best practices, techniques, experiences and capabilities.”

Members of the Australia Army and Philippine militaries were present as observers during the exercise and attended the on-site training in order enhance and develop their coordination and cooperation between the U.S. and Japan.