Training how you fight

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, U.S. Army and Air Force held a multiservice chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training exercise, May 17-18.

Members of U.S. Army 1-1 Air Defense Artillery hosted members of the JGSDF and 18th Wing, demonstrating a variety of CBRN decontamination practices, including one on the MIM-104 Patriot missile system.

“This training is important because if you look at how modern warfare has shifted, conventional warfare involving infantry has shifted more towards artillery and CBRN,” said 2nd Lt. Matthew Li 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion CBRN defense officer in charge, “By covering our defense capabilities we are better prepared to serve Japan, the United States Army, U.S. Air Force, and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.”

The different services demonstrated techniques for decontamination, detection and operating in a contaminated environment according to their own operating instructions, both teaching and learning to better understand differences and similarities between each unit.

“They never really have a chance to operate anything that isn’t theirs. By doing these exchanges we not only get to see what they have to offer, but we also learn about how they conduct themselves,” said Li.

The biggest benefits for working together is seeing how counterparts operate, learning ways to improve operations, according to Tech. Sgt. Karen Hubley, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron NCOIC of emergency management operations.

Mitigating language and cultural differences with prior planning and the use of translators was imperative in the coordination of this event, with the central theme of sharing information with allies and counterparts.

“One of the strongest points of working with bilateral and joint partners is developing the sense of shared understanding of what we can do together in a real-world situation,” said Li. “My favorite part of the training was developing understanding of our bilateral and joint partners' capabilities.”

Hubley stated that opportunities to learn and improve in a joint environment are important not only for younger military members, but also those who occupy leadership roles.

“I can foresee this type of training evolving into all of us operating a joint decontamination line together and also having more of an overall joint and bilateral CBRN exercise take place with JGSDF, USAF and U.S. Army,” said Li.