CAMP HIGASHI-CHITOSE, Japan (Oct. 27, 2014) -- Sharing combat skills helped to close the gap between U.S. Army Soldiers and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a close quarters marksmanship exercise, here Oct. 24.

Members of the JGSDF invited approximately 30 U.S. Army Infantry Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington to observe the training and familiarize U.S. Soldiers with Japanese weapons and protective gear prior to the beginning of Orient Shield 14.

Orient Shield 14 brings together the 2nd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. from JBLM and JGSDF members from the 11th Infantry Regiment, 7th Armor Division, Northern Army for combined light infantry, squad-level and urban assault training. OS14 is an annual bilateral field and staff training exercise, co-hosted by the JGSDF and U.S. Army Japan, Oct. 27 to Nov. 7.

Close quarters marksmanship or CQM pairs infantryman together, performing rapid live-fire maneuvers in a confined space. Soldiers must remain focused on the basic fundamentals of marksmanship and firing skills such as aiming, breathing control, trigger squeeze and moving to a target engagement, all while remaining mindful of where their partner is. All of this takes place in a confined space a short distance from their target and requires rapid reflexes.

"I was very impressed with their accuracy out on the range," said U.S. Army Sgt. Carson Hitchens, an Infantryman with Co. C., 1st Bn., 17th Inf. Reg., 2nd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. from JBLM. "They [JGSDF] were pretty spot on with every target."