Seabees Teach Capabilities to Counterparts in Japan

By James Johnson, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East Public Affairs

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BUC(SCW/EXW) Billy Harger, Public Works Department Misawa, discusses the different stages wood undergoes from the tree, the mill, drying process, planing, sanding, and finally the finished product. The instruction is part of an expanding joint training and team-building program the Seabees and Air Force conduct aboard Misawa Air Base. More than 30 host-nation personnel from Sendai and Sapporo Japan Ground Self-Defense Infantry Units participated in the training July 2. (Photos by Master Sgt. Ichiro Nishizawa, JGSDF)

Seabees from Public Works Department Misawa, Japan trained Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) personnel in the 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.”

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BU2(SCW) James Delacruz instructs an embarkation class with the Sendai and Sapporo Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, explaining proper loading of a 463L pallet and securing the loads in preparation for loading onto a C-17 or C-130 aboard Naval Air Facility Misawa July 2.

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.”

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UTCN Arial Hogue builds a new friendship with a host nation counterpart aboard Naval Air Facility Misawa July 2.

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