CAMP SENDAI, Japan- America's First Corps is participating in Yama Sakura 73, a command post exercise between the U.S. Military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces, Dec. 1-12, 2017. This year the exercise is with the Japan Northeastern Army at Camp Sendai, Japan.
The 17th Field Artillery Brigade is supporting I Corps as the Force Field Artillery and the Multi-Domain Task Force -- Pilot Program Headquarters while working with and learning from the Japan Northeastern Army Artillery (NEAA).
"It was an Honor for us," said Col. Yasuaki Yamasaka, commander of the NEAA, "to work with [17th Field Artillery Brigade] and having the same ideas about field artillery and conducting fires missions [was great too]."
Col. Christopher W. Wendland, commander of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade felt very similar.
"As we are both artillerymen and both have been in artillery for such a long time we were really able to understand where each of us come from," said Wendland, "and we were able to come together and see the battlefield together."
Overall, both commanders felt that they gained some good practices from the other.
"I was impressed with the way they do their targeting piece and some of the systems they do for targeting and battle damage assessment," said Wendland. "We were able to identify and integrate it into our systems as we evolved."
Yamasaka took away other things.
"My priority is to destroy the enemy and their location but Col. Wendland's idea is, of course we conduct our fire mission against the enemy," said Yamasaka, "but we have to minimize the damage to the infrastructure and his intentions were the same as our Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Tetsuro Yamanoue."
As for the relationship between the two men, they have become friends and colleagues.
"The personal relationship between me and their chief of fires," explained Wendland, "grew every day and now we can have a small conversation in Japanese and we understand where we're going."
And Yamasaka agreed.
"Our relationship and trust has grown day by day," said Yamasaka. "And I hope that we can have a drink together, so we can build and deepen our trust and relationship."
Wendland and Yamasaka came together and fully grasped 'Sensho' or 'Fight Together."
Overall, I think that it was an extreme success," said Wendland. "Our coordination and cooperation with our Japanese partners as part of the NEA was extremely well coordinated and synchronized."