Ceremony Kicks Off Bilateral Field Training Exercise Orient Shield 21-2 in Japan
Ceremony Kicks Off Bilateral Field Training Exercise Orient Shield 21-2 in Japan

Ceremony Kicks Off Bilateral Field Training Exercise Orient Shield 21-2 in Japan

Maj. Gen. Laura Yeager, 40th Infantry Division (“Sunshine Division”) commander; Lt. Gen. Shin Nozawa,Japan Ground Self-Defense Force commander; and Mr. Minoru Kihara, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs, delivered remarks during the Orient Shield 21-2 opening ceremony at Camp Itami June 24. Orient Shield 21-2 is the largest U.S. Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan. This exercise is designed to enhance interoperability between the two nations.

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Middle Army, along with U.S. Soldiers from 40th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Japan, participated in the Orient Shield 21-2 opening ceremony at Camp Itami, June 24, 2021.
Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Middle Army, along with U.S. Soldiers from 40th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Japan, participated in the Orient Shield 21-2 opening ceremony at Camp Itami, June 24, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl John Hall)

The exercise is comprised of approximately 1,700 U.S. and roughly 3,000 JGSDF personnel. Orient Shield has been held since 1985, this being the 35th installment. Although restricted to U.S. military installations in Japan during this 14-day period, U.S. Army Soldiers continue to hone their warfighting skills in preparation for the upcoming exercise. The exercise was designed specifically to test the ability to move Soldiers into Japan during a COVID-constrained environment while adhering to both U.S. and Japan health standards.

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Medics assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, pose alongside medics from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force after training on how to properly load a casualty into an ambulance during bilateral medical training on Aibano Training Area, Japan, as part of exercise Orient Shield 21-2 June 24, 2021.
Medics assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, pose alongside medics from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force after training on how to properly load a casualty into an ambulance during bilateral medical training on Aibano Training Area, Japan, as part of exercise Orient Shield 21-2 June 24, 2021. (Photo by Pfc. Anthony Ford/3rd Infantry Division)

The exercise is designed to enhance bilateral combat effectiveness at the battalion and brigade levels while strengthening military-to-military relationships and demonstrating American commitment to support regional security interests. Rotating between JGSDF divisions of the five Regional Armies, Orient Shield leverages the unique capabilities of the training units to provide for ever-increasing tactical complexity and realism. The ongoing tension around North Korea’s nuclear program has added an additional layer of importance to the annual exercise.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jed Martin, a Fairbanks, Alaska, native and sniper section leader with 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment “Black Lions,” 3rd Infantry Division, scans for hidden objects
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jed Martin, a Fairbanks, Alaska, native and sniper section leader with 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment “Black Lions,” 3rd Infantry Division, scans for hidden objects during training on Camp Fuji, Japan, June 15, 2021. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Justin A. Naylor/3rd Infantry Division)

Since 1985, it has focused on development and refinement of systems and tactics in order to enhance bilateral tactical planning, coordination, and interoperability. Originally executed as a one week platoon-level Field Training Exercise (FTX), Orient Shield has evolved into a two week battalion-level FTX, brigade-level computer assisted Command Post Exercise (CPX), and company-level Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX). In 2015, Orient Shield was added to Pacific Pathways, a United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiative to improve readiness and the scope and quality of regional engagements.

A group of four Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, breach and enter a building while practicing military operations in urban terrain on Camp Fuji, Japan, June 10, 2021
A group of four Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, breach and enter a building while practicing military operations in urban terrain on Camp Fuji, Japanbefore participating in the upcoming Exercise Orient Shield later this month. (Photo by Pfc. Anthony Ford/
3rd Infantry Division
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