KITA-FUJI TRAINING AREA, Japan, Oct. 20, 2011 -- Soldiers from the Texas National Guard, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment out of Weslaco, Texas, joined with Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldiers from the Eastern Army 1st Division, 1st Infantry Regiment, in a ceremony that initiated the annual bi-lateral combined arms training dubbed Orient Shield 2011.

The ceremony began as the Texas National Guard Soldiers marched to the parade field while members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, or JGSDF, lined the streets and applauded.

Lt. Col. Clarence J. Henderson, commander of the 3rd Bn. 141st Inf. Reg., spoke of the similarities between the two forces.

Both units share a civil support role to our perspective nations in addition to our dedication to combat readiness, said Henderson.

Col. Kazumasa Ishii commander of the JGSDF members expressed his gratitude for the support of the nearby communities, and focused on the mutual benefits of this training.

Henderson concluded the ceremony in saying, "The men of the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, stand before you today to promote our enduring relationships, goodwill, and mutual understanding in order to improve and sustain our bi-lateral operations. Thank you for this opportunity. Now let's go train!"