What You Can't See, Can Hurt You
November 7, 2010
Kami-Furano, Japan - These men can spend an entire day moving three feet, all for one perfect shot. They are U.S. Army snipers.
The Missouri National Guard's 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment Sniper Team, trained with soldiers from the 26th Infantry Regiment, Northern Army, Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces, during Orient Shield 11, a bi-lateral exercise that focuses on tactical combat, battle staff operations and training at the battalion and regimental level and below.
"We came over with mixed expectations," said a sergeant with the Missouri Sniper Team. "We didn't trust training another country. Our minds have changed; we definitely want to come back."
Field craft is a sniper term that includes camouflaging, firing positions, hide sites and everything else leading up to one perfect shot.
"Their shooting and fundamentals are good," said the Sergeant.
He said the Japanese have started understanding the concepts of noise and light discipline, the military's term for keeping quiet and not drawing attention to one's position.
"It changed their perspective from what they see on TV," said the sergeant. "They only saw the glory in this job. Now, they understand the (negatives)."
Sergeant First Class Naohiro Maezono, Japanese Sniper Team Chief Instructor, believes with more bi-lateral training, the Japanese Sniper team can improve its proficiency.
"I feel each sniper has many skills such as survival, shooting and situational awareness," said Maezono. "I also feel sniper training is necessary for Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces."
Maezono said a Japanese Sniper Team would play an important role on the battlefield, filling a gap between rifle and mortar platoons.
Despite the fact they have been training for a short time, both sides said they feel as close as brothers and look forward to practicing their skills.
"The Japanese are eager to learn and excited about implementing a sniper team," said the sergeant.