By Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentNovember 1, 2012
Aibano Training Area, Japan -- Bilateral training between Defense Force Members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment quickly turned into a media event when Japanese journalists arrived expecting a display of the Stryker Mobile Gun System's (MGS) capabilities at Aibano Training Area Tuesday during Orient Shield exercises.
The Stryker MGS blasted two rounds while remaining stationary and then went on the offensive, firing another round while advancing down the range. Technical difficulties prevented it from continuing on with the exhibition, but the destruction potential and versatility had already been revealed to those in attendance.
"It was a big surprise when the media all of a sudden showed up," said 2nd Lt. Robert A. Villareal, from Plano, Texas, Stryker MGS Platoon Leader with Company C, 1-14th.
The live fire exhibit put on by the Stryker MGS was significant because, for the Japanese in attendance, it was the first time they have ever observed the system in action.
"The media and Defense Force got a general view of how the main gun works," said Sgt. De Andre D. Bobo, from Washington, Ill., a remote weapon system Stryker gunner with Company C, 1-14th. "They got to see some rounds go down range and it showed them what the vehicle looks like."
"The Stryker MGS gives you the same quick moving vehicle," said Bobo. "It can engage armored vehicles and things like bunkers and buildings. It's another tool that you can use when you're trying to engage the enemy."
Not long after all the questions were answered and the footage captured, the media left the range. This left the Defense Force Members and Soldiers to continue what they had been doing for several days prior -- building friendships.
"It was really good getting to work with the Japanese," said Bobo. "Even though I don't speak Japanese I still have a good time. You can tell that they were excited to see us and we were excited to see them."
Other Soldiers echoed the same sentiment.
"It's really cool to see how, even though we're so far apart, that we have similarities between the two of us," said Sgt. Jon D. Hill, from Clearlake, Calif., a Stryker MGS gunner with Company C, 1-14th. "It's like a brotherhood."
This year marks the 13th iteration of the annual, bilateral tactical field-training exercise designed to enhance U.S. and Japan combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening the bilateral relationship in support of the security interests of friends and allies in the region.