• Pfc. Chris Alicea, sniper, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, watches as Sgt. Yuusuke Nakasato, 16th Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, aligns his sights to a target during a live-fire training exercise in which American and Japanese snipers exchanged knowledge of their sniper operation procedures, Sept. 5, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. The combined training is part of Operation Rising Thunder 13, a three-week training exercise between soldiers from I Corps and the 16th RCT, designed to develop all war-fighting functions for both Japanese and U.S. forces.

    American, Japanese snipers train on common ground

    Pfc. Chris Alicea, sniper, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, watches as Sgt. Yuusuke Nakasato, 16th Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, aligns his sights to...

  • Japanese Sgt. Youhei Kaminota, sniper, 16th Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, positions himself behind an M24 sniper rifle to familiarize himself before firing. The members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force took part in a combined training exercise with American snipers in which both forces learned from each other Sept. 5, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. Both forces will exchange their knowledge of how they conduct sniper operations and will focus on target detection, reconnaissance techniques and cover and concealment. The combined training is part of Operation Rising Thunder 13, a three-week training exercise between soldiers from I Corps and the 16th RCT, designed to develop all war-fighting functions for both Japanese and U.S. forces.

    American, Japanese snipers train on common ground

    Japanese Sgt. Youhei Kaminota, sniper, 16th Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, positions himself behind an M24 sniper rifle to familiarize himself before firing. The members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force...

  • Spc. Andrew Anthony, spotter, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, teaches Japanese snipers the way American snipers engage a target, Sept. 5, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. Both forces will exchange their knowledge of how they conduct sniper operations and will focus on target detection, reconnaissance techniques and cover and concealment. The combined training is part of Operation Rising Thunder 13, a three-week training exercise between Soldiers from I Corps and the 16th RCT, designed to develop all warfighting functions for both Japanese and U.S. forces.

    American, Japanese snipers train on common ground

    Spc. Andrew Anthony, spotter, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, teaches Japanese snipers the way American snipers engage a target, Sept. 5, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. Both...

  • The 16th Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Regimental Combat Team color guard stands in front of the formation rendering a salute as both national anthems play during an opening ceremony for Operation Rising Thunder, Sept. 4, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. The operation is an annual exercise that involves units from Japan and the United States. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the joint training. The multi-echelon combined training event aims to exercise and develop all warfighting functions for both Japanese and U.S. forces.

    American, Japanese snipers train on common ground

    The 16th Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Regimental Combat Team color guard stands in front of the formation rendering a salute as both national anthems play during an opening ceremony for Operation Rising Thunder, Sept. 4, 2013, at the Yakima Training...

  • U.S. soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force from 16th Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division, stand in formation during the opening ceremony for Operation Rising Thunder, Sept. 4, 2013, at Yakima Training Center, Wash. The forces stood together as they prepared to begin the annual month-long training exercise. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the training partnership designed to improve and validate the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and I Corps and the 7th Infantry Division's combat readiness as a combined joint task force.

    American, Japanese snipers train on common ground

    U.S. soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force from 16th Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Regimental Combat Team, 4th Division...

YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. (Sept. 8, 2013) -- American and Japanese snipers came together to exchange their knowledge and learn from each other to enhance their combat readiness Sept. 5, at the Yakima Training Center, Wash. They focused on target detection, reconnaissance techniques and cover and concealment.

The training was part of Operation Rising Thunder 13, a three-week exercise designed to develop all warfighting functions for both Japanese and U.S. forces. More than 800 Soldiers from I Corps and almost 500 members of the 16th Regimental Combat Team, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, known as the JGSDF, are scheduled to train together on full-spectrum operations through Sept. 24.

Snipers from the two nations spent the first day of training, Sept. 5, getting to know each other. They were mixed together and broken down into teams of three -- a spotter, sniper and senior sniper. Since the teams consisted of Soldiers from both nations, they had the opportunity to work together to enhance their skills as they learn the different techniques they use to accomplish their job. The teams are scheduled to compete against each other after two weeks of training.

"Japanese snipers are great marksmen. For us our first job is reconnaissance, so we are focusing our training on that," said Staff Sgt. Mitchell Shaw, battalion sniper section leader, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Although communications might seem difficult between members who speak different languages, the snipers are finding creative ways to overcome the obstacle -- whether it's using hand signals, drawing, or asking a translator for help.

"We want to train them as much as they want to be trained and vise-versa, we want to learn from them anything they can teach us," said Shaw, a native of Reno, Nev.

Before the snipers began firing, they received a class on the dynamics of the sniper weapons system proper firing procedures, and then separated into teams. The teams then went onto the firing lane to begin their hands-on training.

"Our members want to learn from the combat experience of their American counterparts. They see in them a wealth of knowledge," said Sgt. Maj. Matsuba Munetsugu, 16th RCT, JGSDF.

This is the 20th year of the exercise and the scale is much larger since the JGSDF brought additional resources.

"The result from this change is, it provides a better training opportunity and the relationship that it builds with Soldiers from both militaries is going to be really important as we move forward," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, during the opening ceremony, Sept. 4.

According to Lanza, this year's training will include all capabilities and weapons for a combined training exercise, and the training exercise will continue to build more opportunities to give Soldiers the best training possible.

"There is a professionalism that exists between our Soldiers, even though we are from different countries," Lanza said. "While our cultures may be different, and our languages may be different the similarities between Soldiers are the same.

"As we work and train together we will sustain the bonds of trust that unites us professionally," Lanza continued. "The United States military must be globally aligned and regionally focused in this exercise with the Japanese Defense Forces. We look forward to working together, training together and learning from you as we continue this great training opportunity."

Page last updated Sun September 8th, 2013 at 00:00