Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and members of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force jump to catch a Frisbee during an ultimate Frisbee tournament on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations.
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and members of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force jump to catch a Frisbee during an ultimate Frisbee tournament on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations. (Photo Credit: Pfc. Anthony Ford) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment “Black Lions,” 3rd Infantry Division, and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force participated in an ultimate Frisbee tournament on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Both parties have been training together since June 24, 2021, the start of exercise Orient Shield.

During the tournament, nine-person teams competed to be crowned champions. The fields, wet and muddy from rain the night before, made for a lot of fun with competitors slipping and sliding throughout the games.

A member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force looks for a teammate to throw to during an ultimate Frisbee tournament with Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and JGSDF members on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations.
A member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force looks for a teammate to throw to during an ultimate Frisbee tournament with Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and JGSDF members on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations. (Photo Credit: Pfc. Anthony Ford) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Even though I am older, I am doing my best to play with the young people,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kanji Tojo with the JGSDF. Tojo has trained with U.S. counterparts throughout Orient Shield. “I’m having fun.”

The tournament made for a pleasant break from training for participants from both sides.

“I think it’s important to have recreational activities like this during training because competition builds camaraderie,” says Sgt. 1st Class Randall Durbin, the first sergeant for Alpha Company, 1st Bn., 28th Inf. Regt.

A Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, shares a laugh with a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during an ultimate Frisbee tournament between Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and JGSDF members on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations.
A Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, shares a laugh with a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during an ultimate Frisbee tournament between Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and JGSDF members on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations. (Photo Credit: Pfc. Anthony Ford) VIEW ORIGINAL

With more teams than could play at one time, Black Lions and members of the JGSDF who weren’t playing spent time on the sidelines cheering, talking and joking with one another. After so much time spent together during the exercise, Black Lions and members of the JGSDF are starting to get to know each on a more personal level.

“I have a blast every time I get a chance to see them,” said Durbin of his JGSDF counterparts. “There are a couple JGSDF guys that you can pick out that you’ve had long conversations with and they are always excited to see you the next time they get to.”

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. William Perry, assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, throws a Frisbee while playing in an ultimate Frisbee match against members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. William Perry, assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, throws a Frisbee while playing in an ultimate Frisbee match against members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force on Aibano Training Area, Japan, July 2, 2021. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF participated in the tournament in a short break from training during exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and JGSDF bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations. (Photo Credit: Pfc. Anthony Ford) VIEW ORIGINAL

With Orient Shield coming to an end in a little less than a week, the U.S. and JGSDF still have much more training to do, but events like these help keep morale high.