By Spc. Joanna N. AmbergerNovember 29, 2006
Hawaii National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron of the 299th Cavalry Regiment hosted the 2nd Company of the 1st Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) during Rising Warrior IV, an annual joint training exercise, at Schofield Barracks, Nov. 1-20.
Rising Warrior combines infantry units from the U.S. Army with the JGSDF into one training event, said Capt. John V. Udani, operations officer, 1-299th Cavalry.
"The focus of this Rising Warrior exercise is MOUT [Military Operations in Urban Terrain] training and sharing what we learned from our last deployment," said Udani.
Training began at the individual Soldier level and then progressed through the squad, platoon and company level. Training included reflexive firing, vehicle drills, mounted Humvee operations, cordon and search, entering a room and clearing a building.
Training culminated with a company live-fire event and a 24-hour field training exercise, said Udani.
The goal of the exercise was to apply "U.S. doctrine of modern warfare to the doctrine the Japanese forces are currently operating under," said Spc. Charles C. Kuahine III, assistant operations, Troop B, 1-299 Cavalry. "It's a blend of the two worlds."
The best part of the exercise was after the training was finished for the day, said Kuahine. "Once we do our after-action reviews, we all get together and talk collectively. That's the fun part," he said. "You're relaxed, you're happy, you've had a good training, you get to talk about it and share experiences."
Soldiers commented that the most challenging aspect of the training was the language barrier.
"The language barrier is hard, but the interpreters make it easier for us," said Master Sgt. Kenneth D. Manuel, intelligence noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-229th Cavalry.
Despite the communication difficulty, Soldiers and Japanese troops are both well-trained infantry units and were able to work well together and accomplish the mission, noted Manuel.
"With the way the international community is responding to terrorism on a global scale, I think it's very important that we try to understand one another's concepts, not only diplomatically speaking, but on the tactical and technical aspects of warfare today," said Kuahine. "Doing something like this, where we get to train with another country's forces, is key. I think it's really vital and important if we really want to achieve the ultimate goal here. It's things like this that make it all come together in the end."
Soldiers from the JGSDF also reported that the training was significant for them.
"I'm very thankful to the regimental and company commanders for allowing me to participate in this training," said Cpl. Kazumasa Hirakawa, antitank missile operator, JGSDF. "This training helped me to improve my techniques, knowledge and attitude tremendously. I hope those who could not participate in this training will have a chance to participate next time and experience what I have learned and felt."