Kentucky Soldiers conduct IED training with Japanese forces in Africa

Story by Air Force Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa

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Sgt. Bobby King, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, explains how to conduct counter-improvised explosive device recovery to Japanese Ground Self Defense Force members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 30, 2012. This event helped foster mutual understanding between U.S. and Japanese forces and improved their ability to conduct integrated contingency operations in support of their mutual national interests and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission to promote security and stability throughout the East Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon/RELEASED)

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — Japanese Ground Self Defense Force members teamed with soldiers from Kentucky Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion 138th Field Artillery Regiment to conduct counter-improvised explosive device training Nov. 29, 2012, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

This event helped foster mutual understanding between U.S. and Japanese forces and improved their ability to conduct integrated contingency operations in support of their mutual national interests and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission to promote security and stability throughout East Africa.

“Today we were doing part two of our counter-IED with the Japanese,” said Sgt. Bobby King, 2/138th FAR course instructor. “It was mostly hands on. We created two dismounted and one mounted IED lane for training. They have never had any training like this, so it was an honor for me to be the first guy to train them on this.”

The training in total was four days and the Japanese service members were very receptive to what was taught, according to King.

“[The U.S. Army] is very good,” said JGSDF 1st Lt. Yamato Kuzuhara, unit training monitor. “They have missions involving many risks, so we have a lot of respect for the U.S. Army.”

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1st Lt. Oscar Ortiz, 2nd Battalion 138th Field Artillery, secures a tactical vest to Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces Sgt. Kawamoto Yuji during the counter-improvised explosive device and explosive ordnance disposal training on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 30, 2012. This event helped foster mutual understanding between U.S. and Japanese forces and improved their ability to conduct integrated contingency operations in support of their mutual national interests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano).

The U.S. Army members gave instruction to the Japanese soldiers and built sand tables where they used toy soldiers to demonstrate the exercises they were about to do. Then they provided an opportunity for Japanese troops to observe them perform a “React-to-Possible IED” battle drill while conducting a dismounted patrol. This demonstration included a complete cordon of the area and the simulation of calling an EOD team to neutralize the threat.

“I think this training opened them up to the different types of attacks that could happen,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Wininger, 2/138th FAR training non-commissioned officer. “The more information we can share with each other the different tactics we can each learn and the more equipped we both can be.”

The goal of the training was to teach the Japanese how to identify possible IEC indicators. The JGSDF members successfully participated in the various training courses and both teams hope to continue working together in the future, according to King.

“I think partnering with the Japanese gives us more camaraderie as a team,” King said. “It brings us closer together and makes both sides more eager to work together in the future.”

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