• Spc. Sergio Garcia, an infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Team, and native of Mountain View, Calif., bears the national colors during the closing ceremony of Orient Shield 12 at Aibano training Area, Japan. Orient Shield strengthens military operations trust and friendships between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.

    Orient Shield 12 concludes with Ceremony

    Spc. Sergio Garcia, an infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Team, and native of Mountain View, Calif., bears the national colors during the closing ceremony of Orient Shield...

  • Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, battalion commander with 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, exchanges gifts and a handshake with Col. Koji Furuya, commander of the 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division, Middle Army of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, during the closing ceremony of Orient Shield 12, Nov. 7, 2012.  Orient Shield is an annual training exercise bringing together the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force to strengthen their relationship, ensuring continued regional stability and security.

    Orient Shield 12 concludes with Ceremony

    Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, battalion commander with 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, exchanges gifts and a handshake with Col. Koji Furuya, commander of the 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division, Middle Army of the...

  • Col. Koji Furuya, regimental commander of 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, and Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, salute during the national anthem of each country during the closing ceremonies of Orient Shield 12.  The bilateral training allowed the forces to combine training and tactics as well as build friendships while at Aibano Training Area near Imazu City, Japan, Oct. 24-Nov. 7, 2012.

    Orient Shield 12 concludes with Ceremony

    Col. Koji Furuya, regimental commander of 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, and Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, salute during the national anthem of...

  • An officer of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force listens to remarks during the closing ceremonies of Orient Shield 12.  He proudly displays patches he received from Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, during the previous night's dinner.  Bilateral training between the two forces took place at the Aibano Training Area near Imazu City, Japan, Oct. 24 - Nov. 7, 2012.

    Orient Shield 12 concludes with Ceremony

    An officer of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force listens to remarks during the closing ceremonies of Orient Shield 12. He proudly displays patches he received from Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, during the previous night's...

AIBANO TRAINING AREA, Japan (Nov. 6, 2012) -- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, along with Japan Ground Self Defense Force members from the 33rd Infantry Regiment, 10th Division, Middle Army, attended a ceremony that closed the 13th iteration of Orient Shield, a bilateral training exercise taking place at Aibano Training Area, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, Nov 7.

Orient Shield is designed to enhance interoperability between U.S. and Japanese units at the lowest level, emphasizing combat readiness of both forces while strengthening their relationship.

Nearly 1,000 Soldiers andJapan Ground Self Defense Force, or JGSDF, members gathered on the parade field at Aibano Training Area in military fashion, standing in tight, disciplined formations. During the ceremony, the commanders of both units exchanged gifts and addressed the Soldiers and JGSDF members in attendance.

Col. Koji Furuya, commander of the 33rd Regiment, said he appreciated the Soldiers who participated in the bilateral exercise for their great effort during the last two weeks of training.

"I'm certain that this bilateral exercise has helped to make the U.S.-Japan alliance stronger," said Furuya. "Through training and events it appears that all U.S. and Japan Soldiers actively worked together to communicate and to overcome differences. Through this bilateral exercise, mutual understanding of tactics and communication were deepened, which allowed us to enrich our ability and to establish the foundation for smooth bilateral operation. I have no doubt that the 33rd Combat Team and the 1-14th Battalion have built a relationship to fight and win together."

Col. Jonathan Larsen, commander of the 1-14th Infantry, said the exchange was beneficial for the security of both regions.

"Over the last two weeks we have increased the security of our great nations," Larsen said. "Our Soldiers shared difficult training situations, and we increased our respect for each other, and our commitment to those nations and the people of the world. It is by forming partnerships at all levels, from the individual Soldier to the highest units in our forces that we will ensure continued security."

U.S. Soldiers and JGSDF members exchanged information over the last two weeks, learning about each other's tactics, techniques and capabilities, including vehicles, weapons, and other equipment. The 2nd Stryker BCT deployed Strykers to Japan for the first time since the vehicle's introduction the to U.S. Army. Orient Shield concluded with a bilateral field training exercise, which encompassed all tasks and topics trained on during the functional phase of training.

"Over the last two weeks, we have seen some significant changes all around us," Larsen said. "Our Soldiers have come alive with a better understanding and appreciation for each other. We still don't speak the same language, and we still come from very different backgrounds, but we are similar in our minds. And that has allowed us to make friendships and memories that will last us a lifetime."

Page last updated Wed November 7th, 2012 at 16:50