CAMP SENDAI, Japan -- Soldiers of 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., joined forces with America's I Corps and the North Eastern Army of Japan here for a week-long command post exercise simulating the defense of Japan Dec. 6-10.

Rehearsing mission command of sustainment operations and security of I Corps' rear area of operations, 593rd ESC sustainers honed their skills while also developing new ones in the annual exercise called, "Yama Sakura."

"With the rear area security mission, we had to consider numerous factors beyond sustainment operations," said Col. James Moore, ESC commander. "But although it increased the complexity of our mission, it allowed us to set our own conditions to enable optimum sustainment operations."

Moore worked with his Japanese counterpart, Maj. Gen. Toshikazu Yamane, to ensure that everything his team did was coordinated and feasible with Japan's NEA.

"Utmost professionalism and competence," Moore said describing Yamane and the Japanese army logisticians. "We were synchronized at every step with the NEA because the entire team of American and Japanese soldiers put in tremendous effort. There are significant differences in the way the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and our Army are organized for logistics, but we worked through it."
Yamane agreed.

"I was very impressed by your professional job," Yamane told Moore and other Army sustainers during the exercise. "I understand there is a big difference between our sustainment systems, but I know we can dissolve those differences (with teamwork)."

The JGSDF doesn't have battalion and brigade-sized sustainment units, like the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at JBLM. Instead, logisticians are integrated into units.

"Coordination was hard because of the language barrier," Chief Warrant Officer Francis Calimbas said about working with Japanese counterparts. "We got there because of great cooperation from everybody. We had to communicate our plans to each other in the simplest of terms, which really helped our total understanding."