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Oct-17-2006 21:10printcomments

Oregon Guard Soldiers Train Japanese Troops for Deployment to Iraq

Orient Shield 2007, an annual training exercise between the U.S. and Japanese armies began Monday with an opening ceremony at the Sekiyama Maneuver Area in Honshu, Japan.

Oregon Japan troops
Photos by: Russell Bassett- Oregon National Guard

(NIIGATA,, Japan) - As the world watches North Korea, which tested a nuclear weapon Oct. 9th, members of the Oregon National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry are demonstrating what they call a strong partnership between the United States and Japan.

"This exercise will be an opportunity to enhance Japanese Ground Self Defense Force/U.S. Army combat readiness and demonstrate to Asia the alliance between our countries," 2nd Bn., 162nd Inf. Commander Lt. Col. Edward Tanguy said during the ceremony. "By the end of the exercise, we all will achieve enduring bilateral relationships, good will and mutual understanding … through tough training and cultural exchange."

Oregon Guard Lt. Col. Edward Tanguy (right), shakes
hands with Lt. Col. Shizuo Sekine of the Japanese Army

Tanguy's counterpart for the exercise, Japan's 2nd Infantry Battalion, 1st Airborne Brigade commander Lt. Col. Shizuo Sekine also focused on strengthening the relationship between the two countries in his speech to the approximately 240 Oregon and 350 Japanese soldiers assembled for the opening ceremony.

"At this time, we establish the occasion for both Japan and the U.S. to make groups and conduct the training with close cooperation," Sekine said.

Monday evening, the soldiers from both units worked on achieving mutual understanding at a party held in nearby Joetsu. The language difference was no barrier, as the soldiers enjoyed traditional Japanese food and drink together.

"There's a feeling of unity between the two organizations, and that was seen at last night's opening party," Eugene resident and 2-162's operations noncommissioned officer Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Glesmann said. "There is a respect there. They are definitely very disciplined and extremely organized"

The training began in earnest the next morning with helicopter and traffic control point operations.

Helo Ops: Members of C Company, 2-162 Inf. disembark from a helicopter during Orient Shield's first day of training.

The Oregon citizen Soldiers have much experience conducting traffic checkpoints, as the operations were a regular part of the routine in 2004 when the unit was in Baghdad for Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

Several of the Japanese soldiers also bring experience from tours in Iraq. Japan deployed about 600 soldiers to Iraq in early 2004. The deployment marked a significant turning point in Japan's history, as it was the first time since the end of World War II that Japan sent troops abroad except for a few minor UN peacekeeping missions.

Japan redeployed its troops from Iraq this summer.

New Friends: Pfc. Adam Comella (right), of Gresham shares a
laugh with privates Akihiro Saito and Koji Hakado during the
welcome party Monday evening.

"The TCP (traffic control point) ops we learned in Iraq, we're teaching to the Japanese," Glesmann said. "They have a way of doing it as well, but we are showing them the ways that we did it Iraq."

"You can train and train and train, but there is a perspective you learn in combat that you just can't get if you don't deploy," Tanguy added.

In Iraq, 2-162 was responsible for maintaining an area of operations in Baghdad, and was involved in fighting in Fallujah and Najaf. Members of the unit were also responsible for training the Iraqi army. The unit captured more than 100 insurgents and 300 weapons caches while in Iraq.

After the first day of training in Japan, Tanguy was pleased with what he saw.

"It's been great," the commander said. "All the Soldiers are really engaged with their Japanese counterparts, more so than I thought at this point in the exercise."

Up next for the Oregon citizen Soldiers is training on individual weapons and then cordon and search procedures.

During Saturday's short break in the training, they will get to experience Japanese culture through tours and home visits with Japanese families.

"They'll get a greater understanding of another culture and a greater appreciation of the diverse world we live in, which will have an impact, I think, on their home communities," Tanguy concluded. "The people back home should know that their Guard Soldiers are representing Oregon and the U.S. very well. They can be proud of them."

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Henry Ruark October 19, 2006 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

Al: Freudian analysts have saying: "Attitude is all". Never learned rest of lesson, didn't last long enough with teacher...but here it fits: Seems to me it is wonderful that we are now aiding them to assist us, after what we did to their forebears. Which in turn seems to surround reality with reflection of the cooperative nature of any maturing society, flawed and dangerous as ours surely is.

Albert Marnell October 19, 2006 11:01 am (Pacific time)

Are these the same people that we vilified 60 years ago?....of course! WW2 was not created by these guys or the average American or the average German or the average Russian. It is always the global bankers and industrialists. They are still around and need to be hung. The global bankers and industrialists.. that is. Throw in most politicians while you are at it. Remember politicians are lawyers who are professional liars. They are taught how to lie in law school. Judges are lawyers too.... more criminal windbags. The next time you look at a judge, check to see if he or she is drunk. I know many people that have seen it. Judges are lawyers that want a secure government job. Some of them are real sickos.

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