KAMAKURA, Japan (August 22, 2009) - In the middle of a two-week command post exercise at Camp Zama, a group of 8th Theater Sustainment Command Soldiers took a break to enjoy the ancient culture of Japan.

U.S. Army Garrison, Japan Command Chaplain, Col. John Powers, took the Soldiers on a tour to the city of Kamakura, which was the capital of Japan in the 12th century. Highlights of the tour included the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and the Kotokuin Temple, home to the 32-foot high Daibutsu, or the "Great Buddha".

"Seeing the Great Buddha up close was a humbling experience," said Maj. Hiep Pham, 8th TSC judge advocate general\'s office. "Being a Buddhist myself, it was amazing to be able to see this great statue up close."

Pham was one of more than 20 Soldiers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command who took advantage of some down time during a two-week command post exercise and got a real taste of Japanese culture.

"I really learned a lot about Japanese culture during the tour," said Pham. "It was nice to get away from the exercise for a day and see what Japan has to offer."

The 8th Special Troops Battalion organized the tour for Soldiers taking part in the command post exercise as a way to blow off some steam and to get an up close look at some of Japan's ancient history.

"We organized these trips through the Camp Zama Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office and through the US Army Japan command chaplain," said Maj. Brian Courter, 8th STB operations officer. "It was a good way for the Soldiers to experience Japanese culture in a more organized environment, and to not have to worry about getting lost, taking the train."

The 8th TSC Soldiers will wrap up their training exercise at the end of August and return to Fort Shafter.