KUMAMOTO, Japan, Feb. 1, 2011 -- The main body of the U.S. Army Pacific's Contingency Command Post and other exercise participants arrived via military and commercial aircraft at Kumomoto, Japan, ready to go to work at Camp Kengun, the site of Yama Sakura 59.

The 35th Combat Service Support Battalion of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, based out of Segami Depot, an element of U.S. Army Japan, was tasked to support the in-processing and life support for more than 350 personnel. The 35th CSSB was able to process 350 soldiers into the exercise in 90 minutes.

Maj. Scott Clutter attributed much of the battalion's swift action to Staff Sgt. Walter Ashcroft, who developed a spreadsheet to acquire data from the flight manifest to match billeting assignments. This reduced the time needed to process each Soldier to around one minute per person. By operating two stations, more than 350 soldiers were in-processed in less than two hours.

Clutter also credited his Japanese allies for the operation's rapidity.

"We operate 200 four-man sleep tents here, and each one of these tents has a kerosene heater that keeps out the nightly cold temperatures," he said. "These Japanese heaters can be a little tricky to operate, but the Western Army volunteered a six-man team to assist our new arrivals with any heater issues they may have had to ensure a safe and warm night's rest."

This year is the 29th iteration of the simulation-driven, joint-command post exercise.

Yama Sakura is the U.S. Army Pacific's premier annual bilateral exercise between Japanese and U.S. forces. The exercise started Jan. 22, and runs through Feb. 2.

The training is designed to enhance U.S. and Japan combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating the U.S. commitment to Japan's defense in accordance with a mutual defense treaty that was implemented in 1951, and revised in 1960. Yama Sakura began in 1982.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16