|Oregon National Guard unit deploys to Japan
Oregon National Guard citizen soldiers deploy to Japan next week in support of a bilateral exercise with the Japanese army.
Approximately 240 members of 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry will travel to Sekiyama Maneuver Area, Honshu, Japan, to participate in the annual Orient Shield exercise that concludes Oct. 26.
The unit, which is headquartered in Eugene, will join Japanese soldiers and U.S. soldiers stationed in Japan to enhance U.S./Japan combat readiness, improve bilateral operations between the two armies, promote professional relationships and good will, and demonstrate U.S. resolve to support security interests of friends and allies in the region.
The unit will participate in stability and support operations with the Japanese Army's 2nd Infantry Battalion, 1st Airborne Brigade. The exercise involves a wide range of operational skills and tasks, including dismounted patrols, traffic control points, short range marksmanship, reconnaissance, cordon and search, and close quarters combat.
"The exercise is going to improve soldiers' effectiveness through individual task training and going out on platoon- and company-level missions," said Capt. Peter Aguilar, 2nd Bn., 162nd Inf. Orient Shield project officer. At the same time, they are going to get to experience a professional relationship with a foreign military force."
The unit is no stranger to working with foreign militaries, as 2-162 deployed to Iraq in 2004 for Operation Iraqi Freedom II and Mongolia in August for Exercise Khaan Quest 2006. The unit also deployed last year to Louisiana to provide relief for Hurricane Katrina victims. The last time the unit deployed to Japan was in 1996 in support of the annual North Wind exercise.
Aguilar said Oregon soldiers will benefit from seeing the different techniques used by their Japanese counterparts.
"From Mongolia to Iraq to Kuwait, we always have to build a rapport with a foreign military force," he said. "We know we have to be able to forge those professional relationships."
Along with working side-by-side with Japanese soldiers, several cultural activities are planned.
"Each evening there will be some cultural-exchange events, and many of the soldiers will be able to do some sightseeing and spend an evening with a Japanese family that has opened up their home," Aguilar said, noting that the unit would not be able to maintain its fast-paced operations without community support.
"We have had a remarkable response with employers keeping jobs protected," he said. "We do appreciate the support of the employers, families and community."
The unit's main body departs on Oct. 13 and returns Oct. 26. Some members of the unit deploy Oct. 8.
Another Oregon National Guard unit, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry, deployed to Japan for Orient Shield 2006 in March.
Soldiers deploying for this exercise are from the following cities: Albany, Aloha, Alsea, Banks, Beavercreek, Beaverton, Boring, Brownsville, Camas, Cheshire, Clackamas, Colton, Coos Bay, Cornelius, Corvallis, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Dallas, Dorena, Elmira, Eugene, Florence, Gaston, Gladstone, Goshen, Gresham, Harrisburg, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Independence, Junction City, Keizer, Lacey, Lebanon, Longview, McMinnville, Milwaukee, Molalla, Monroe, Newberg, Oakridge, Oregon City, Philomath, Pleasant Hill, Port Angeles, Portland, Puyallup, Redding, Roseburg, Salem, Sandy, Seal Rock, Seattle, Shelton, Springfield, St. Helens, Stayton, The Dalles, Tigard, Toledo, Troutdale, Vancouver, Veneta, Vernonia, Waldport, West Lake, White Salmon and Yoncalla.
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office
Capt Mike Braibish