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Story by: Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg - 42nd Infantry Division
Dated: Sun, Dec 13, 2009
CAMP CHITOSE, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN (12/13/2009)(readMedia)-- Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division celebrated the 373rd Birthday of the National Guard during a ceremony here Dec. 13 during Yama Sakura 57, the bilateral joint command post training exercise.
The ceremony included Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, the Commanding General of US Army Pacific (USARPAC) and leaders from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces’ 2nd Infantry Division and 7th Tank Division. The two Japanese military leaders were partnered with the 42nd Infantry Division leaders and staff during the battle simulation exercise.
"Just look down at your nametape on the left side of your uniform and that will tell you everything you need to know," Mixon said to the nearly 100 Soldiers present for the ceremony, timed to occur right at as Dec. 13 reached Eastern Standard Time from Japan. "It says U.S. Army and we’ve been one team and one fight for a very long time."
The Guard is an integral part of Army operations worldwide, Mixon explained. "The Pacific Rim is not at war, but it is not at peace either," Mixon said, noting that the National Guard has been an integral part of operations and training with USARPAC.
"I’m proud to have had the 42nd Infantry Division here with us for Yama Sakura," he said.
"Thank you for your cooperation and support during this Yama Sakura training exercise," said Lt. Gen. Yoshikozu Watanabe, commander of the JGSFD 2nd Infantry Division said to Brig. Gen. Steven Wickstrom, the 42nd Infantry Division Commander and the assembled Soldiers. "Your work during our two division’s passage of lines was very successful. A very happy birthday to you and the National Guard."
Wickstrom, the most senior division Soldier present for the ceremony and division Soldier Pfc. Callie Haynes, the most junior Soldier, cut a cake to celebrate the 373rd Birthday for the assembled troops.
"Happy Birthday to the National Guard," Lt. Gen. Hiroshi Yamamoto, the commander of the JGSDF 7th Tank Division.
The division has approximately 120 Soldiers deployed to Northern Japan for Yama Sakura with an additional 55 Soldiers deployed to Fort Lewis, Wash. for exercise support. The troops are expected to return home to New York on Dec. 15.