YOKOSUKA, Japan - Public Works Department Misawa, Japan Seabees trained Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) personnel in English skills and familiarization with Seabee capabilities at Misawa Air Base July 2.
Host nation personnel built relationships while learning U.S Navy skills in physical fitness, active shooter scenarios, and Seabee combat warfare.
“The Japanese Ground Self-Defense soldiers enjoyed the interaction and training topics we have instructed,” said BUC (SCW/EXW) Billy Harger, who led part of the training. “So many times there are walls or barriers between our allies, even in contingency areas during actual missions. By building a bridge during training sessions such as this English program and exchanging combat skills, in the event of an actual contingency those walls will not be there. We’ll have more team unity, and a more capable military movement with the same objectives.”
Members of the JGSDF have attended joint-training with the U.S. Air Force at Misawa Air Base for several years. Last year, the JGSDF expressed interest in learning what the Seabees do. Since the first session in September 2013, class size has grown to two units and 34 students.
“The objective of the training is to explain and demonstrate current operational and mission essential tactics that may be used in the event of an actual conflict requiring the Seabees and Army units to respond to,” said Harger. “The training also enhances the Japanese soldiers English-language skills.”
Seabees demonstrated current U.S. Navy exercises during the physical fitness session. It was so popular that the host nation participants requested a copy of the exercises with descriptions to they can implement in their training.
Plans are being made for JGSDF units from Sendai and Sapporo to host Seabees at their installations to teach Japanese language skills and show how they conduct training and operations.
“These training days have significantly improved relationships between our Seabee unit here and the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces,” said Lt. Jeremy Gerrard, public works officer, Public Works Department Misawa. “We’ve learned as much as our host nation counterparts and look forward to continued joint-training opportunities.”