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Story by: Sgt. First Class Peter Towse - 42nd Infantry Division
Dated: Fri, Oct 9, 2009
OTOMO BARRACKS, JAPAN -- Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard traveled over seven thousand miles to meet with soldiers of Japan’s 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, Middle Army, Joint Ground Self-Defense Force to commemorate the opening ceremony for Exercise Orient Shield here October 9, 2009.
Orient Shield is an annual field training exercise co-sponsored by US Army Japan and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
“It is truly a pleasure to be with you in the land of the rising sun,” said Lt. Col. John Andonie, the commander of the 1-69th Infantry Battalion. “We are humbled and grateful to be in your wonderful country.”
The training exercise will take place at Camp Imazu and the Aibano Training Area, Shiga-prefecture, Japan from October 10-17.
“I have no doubt that we will have a successful and outstanding exercise,” Andonie said.
The focus of the exercise is to give the battalion commanders tactical combat and battle staff skills while encouraging professional relationships, good will and understanding with the Japanese army.
The exercise includes participants from 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, NY Army National Guard, the 83rd Ordnance Battalion and the 8th Theater Support Command with US Army Japan and Japan’s 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, Middle Army, Joint Ground Self-Defense Force.
“I hope that we will form lasting bonds of friendship,” Andonie said. “I look forward to meeting all of you in the days ahead.”
The aim of Orient Shield is to conduct and improve US Army and Japan Defense Force joint operations, to improve combat readiness and increase tactical level experience.
“We are very glad to be able to conduct this exercise with the officers and Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment,” said Col. Hiroyuki Hata, 7th Infantry Regiment Commander. “I hope this exercise will become a meaningful and fruitful exercise and will bring out good relationships and friendships between the United States and Japan and play a role in our alliance.”