With the sound equal to that of a passing semi-truck, three Infantry Stryker vehicles pass a group of Japanese Ground Self Defense Force members, loaded to the bare to bring a lethal surprise upon a target building located at a MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) site located at the Aibano Training Area in Shiga, Japan. Their objective is to demonstrate U.S. Army tactics and techniques to their Japanese bilateral partners so they can build a better understanding of how the U.S. military operates in an urban environment.
Once the Stryker vehicles come into range, blank small arms fire erupts from the target building as Soldiers from B Company "Bushmasters" , 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Division return fire and stack into fire teams to enter the building. Eliminating one OPFOR (Opposition Force) member guarding the front door, the squad enters the building, quickly clearing each room as they move to the second floor where the target is located. Using a small cone shaped military explosive, one fire team preps the door's lock while the other covers the hallway and stairs leading to the room.
With a loud boom, an explosion blows the doorknob and lock completely off the door and the sound reverberates throughout the building. The A Team moves into the room, shooting one OPFOR member and capturing a second. The OPFOR were then quickly searched, provided medical treatment, and evacuated from the building. Throughout it all members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force's 10th Division, 33rd Infantry Regiment watch with surprise and excitement.
This training is all part of Orient Shield, a premier bilateral exercise that is co-hosted by U.S. Army Japan and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. The exercise is designed to strengthen the U.S.-Japan Alliance at the tactical level by partnering infantry units from both nations in a two-week program where Soldiers and Defense Force Members exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures at the lowest levels.
Members of the 33rd Regiment also demonstrated their building clearing techniques during the training while the members of B Company "Bushmasters" observed. The 4th Platoon Leader, 2nd Lt. Eric Eudy, said he was surprised at the skill and aggressiveness of his partnered unit. "Their techniques are very similar to ours, but when they do it (clear a room) they have a violence of action when they are moving through, they aren't as focused on taking EPWs (Enemy Prisoners of War) as we are;" alluding to important intelligence that can gathered from prisoners.
The training is already having an effect on the participants and will likely play a part in how both units look at this military task in the future. "It is interesting to see how another unit would take it (the task) on," said 2nd Lt. Eudy. "It helps you reevaluate your training processes and what you can really do to improve yourself."
Article by Maj. Randall Baucom, U.S. Army Japan Public Affairs