US and Japanese Soldiers unite through English
November 8, 2012
Master Sgt. Kevin Jenkins, battalion maintenance supervisor, 83rd Ord. Bn., has organized many of the English classes since he arrived at the unit two years ago. He says the class is one of several bi-lateral engagements the 83rd conducts to strengthen and enhance the relationships between American and Japanese Soldiers.
"We take advantage of the bi-lateral opportunities with our neighbors. This gives us a chance to not only share our language and culture with our counterparts but they get learn and appreciate our backgrounds as individuals," said Jenkins.
Jenkins added the classes are structured with the basics in mind and geared toward the average person who does not have experience with the English language.
The English classes play a vital role in that it helps to develop communication skills between American and Japanese Soldiers. American troops often partner with Japanese Soldiers during exercises throughout the United States Army Japan's command like the recent Orient Shield, Keen Sword and Yama Sukara.
Sgt. 1st Class Takatoshi Izumi, 46th Inf., 13th Bde., started attending the class a few years ago.
"The focus of these classes are very significant especially for younger non-commissioned officers who at some point will work alongside international military service members. It provides Japanese Soldiers with basic skills allowing them to be successful in speaking and learning English," said Izumi.
Throughout the facility it was apparent to see that both American and Japanese Soldiers were excited and glad to interact with one another. A few attendees get to see each other once a month fostering friendship that last a life time.
Jenkins said the class and other bi-lateral events and activities demonstrates to the local and regional communities that our two countries can work together dispelling myths some might have about the Hiroshima Prefecture.
"It's a good feeling to work alongside Japanese Soldiers especially because of the history of Hiroshima and this says a lot about the relationship between our two countries."