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December 8, 2014 at 11:41am

I Corps in Japan for Yama Sakura 67 exercise

Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, I Corps commanding general, speaks during the opening ceremony for Yama Sakura 67, on Camp Asaka, Japan. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Adam Keith

For the 34th time, U.S. and Japanese Soldiers stood side-by-side to kick off Japan's largest command post exercise at Camp Asaka, Japan, Dec. 8.

Yama Sakura 67 officially started with a brief ceremony in which commanders from I Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's Eastern Army lauded the long-standing partnership between the two nations and encouraged their troops to work closely together.

"This year's Yama Sakura will not only be challenging, but it should be a rewarding experience for all of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, I Corps commanding general. "And over the next several days our teams will have the opportunity to train together, to work together, but more importantly to build those everlasting bonds of trust and partnership that are so critical to this alliance."

Yama Sakura pits about 4,500 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members and about 2,000 U.S. Service members against a notional computer-generated invader, and simulates the full spectrum of military operations with an emphasis on bilateral counter-attack and amphibious operations.

Yama Sakura 67 is scheduled to run from Dec. 8 through Dec. 14, though many American Service members arrived a week or more ahead of time to prepare the exercise area, and to engage in cultural exchanges to build stronger relationships with their Japanese partners.

This year marks only the second time in about eight years I Corps has participated in Yama Sakura. It is the first time in six years for Eastern Army, as the exercise rotates between Japan's five regional armies.

According to Eastern Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Koichi Isobe, since the exercise's inception in 1982, during the Cold War era, it has changed and evolved to keep pace with real-world events.

Isobe said throughout the past three decades, Japan's American partners have been a crucial component in Japan Ground Self-Defense Force training.

"U.S. Forces are an irreplaceable partner of (Japan Ground Self-Defense Force). We will continue working together in response to new challenges and emerging threats," Isobe said.

Filed under: Army, I Corps, Military, Training,

November 24, 2014 at 3:54pm

Quarantined troops to land at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 25

The I Corps Public Affair Office has released a statement announcing 16 personnel supporting Operation United Assistance will arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tuesday. ...

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA - Sixteen personnel supporting Operation United Assistance will arrive on McChord Airfield, Nov. 25, as part of the Department of Defense's 21-day controlled monitoring policy. 

The breakdown of personnel is five Army, eight Air Force, one Marine, one Navy and one civilian.  None of these personnel are assigned to JBLM, and none have presented symptoms consistent with the Ebola Virus Disease.

JBLM is one of five stateside military installations identified by the DOD as a 21-day controlled monitoring area for service members and civilians returning from the EVD outbreak areas in West Africa.

The personnel will be transported to the Lewis North area of JBLM and housed in barracks separate from the rest of the installation. 

DOD civilian employees who are assigned, deployed, or transited through the Ebola outbreak area can volunteer to participate in controlled monitoring.

According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction, CJCSI 4220.01, dated Nov. 14, 2014, all DOD service members, including active, reserve, and national guard will undergo a 21-day controlled monitoring program upon returning from, deployment to, transitioning through, or having been stationed in the Ebola outbreak area in West Africa as declared by the Centers for Disease Control (to include service personnel assigned to United Nations mission or to U.S. Embassies in the Ebola outbreak area).

November 10, 2014 at 5:14pm

I Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza discusses Veterans Day with Lakewood students

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, talks about the meaning of Veterans Day with students at St. Francis Cabrini School. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Veterans Day can be described simply as the day set aside to honor our country's veterans.

"This is about service, about the sacrifices that give us our rights, liberty and environment," explained Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza this afternoon to the student body of St. Francis Cabrini School.

Invited by the school to speak, the commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord arrived with his wife, Madeline, and without an entourage.

The first person he shook hands with was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

"Thank you for your service," Lanza said.

Soon surrounded by students wearing red, white and blue and waving flags, Lanza spoke about the need to remember the service and sacrifices of our nation's veterans. 

"This day of honor began on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918," he began.

During his remarks, a couple of first- and second-graders asked questions.

Without breaking stride and wearing a big smile, Lanza took the time to answer their questions - but with an enduring message to his young audience.

In talking about those who have sworn an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution, Lanza closed by quoting President John Kennedy.

"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers."

September 8, 2014 at 1:29pm

Rising Thunder Stresses Partnership: Japanese and JBLM soldiers train at Yakima

Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The back blast from the howitzer instantly raised the fine dry desert dust. 

A 155 mm shell sliced through the warm morning air toward a target miles away - sort of like the way the first sip of a cold beer feels as it goes down on a hot day.

As silence returned and the dust began to slowly settle, seven soldiers assigned to the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), hurried to reload the big gun.

A minute later, the cannon spoke again.

"It's great to be out here in support of Rising Thunder," commented Capt. Edward Mader, a 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson.

"We're here to work with the Japanese in this bilateral training. They are very good soldiers."

>>>  Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Rising Thunder is a multi-echelon combined training exercise being conducted for the 21st time at the Yakima Training Center. (YTC).

"The focus of this exercise is to train combined arms in conjunction with maneuver and firepower," pointed out Col. Takashi Goto, a JGSDF commander, in a press release.

The 12th Brigade is one of six active brigades comprising the JCSDF. Approximately 300 Japanese soldiers are engaged in the two-and-a-half-weeks of training at YTC.

"We will perform comprehensive combat power with combined arms units and train bilaterally between Japan and the US to enhance interoperability."

>>> A Mitsubishi built Type 10 Main Battle Tank of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, maneuvers at the Yakima Training Center during Operation Rising Thunder. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Training began Sept. 2 and will conclude on the 22nd.

Working with the Japanese are approximately 450 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The brigade's part is to facilitate urban assault operations, sniper training and supporting fire training.

"We're pleased to be a part of such an important event," said Lt. Col. Jeff Bryson, 4th Battalion's commander.

"The focus of this year's training is interoperability."

>>> A Japanese soldier rests for a moment during an urban building clearing exercise.Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Off in the distance two Mitsubishi built Type 10 main battle tanks rumbled into positions and opened fire on targets in the distance as JGSDF soldiers engaged in a live fire urban assault exercise.

As the Army readjusts both domestically in terms of a reduction in troops while at the same time realigns its focus on Asia and the Pacific, interoperability is another work for partnership.

>>> Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, greets an officer of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, during Operation Rising Thunder, an annual training exercise between American and Japanese forces. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The stability of the Asian-Pacific region is of interest to both Japan and America.

To meet future challenges, the two country's military forces must bilaterally confront logistics support issues while simultaneously increasing combat power.

"This is about a partnership with America," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, as he toured several training sites and talked to JGSDF and American soldiers.

Joining Lanza on the visit last Saturday morning to YTC were Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander, 7th Infantry Division and Maj. Gen. James Boozer, commander, United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward).

"The training and the building of partnerships being built and the interoperability being practiced are great," said Boozer.

SEE ALSO

I Corps on point in the Pacific

September 6, 2014 at 12:13pm

7th Infantry Division names new headquarters in honor of Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison during ceremony

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison gives a speech at the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Inf. Div.'s new headquarters named in his honor. Harrison is known not only for his military exploits, but his role in the community. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Friday marked the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Harrison Hall is named after retired Lt. Gen. William Harrison. Harrison is well known in both the military and local communities. After leaving the service he became an influential community leader and politician, being elected the first mayor of Lakewood after its incorporation.

"We honor his contributions not only for the military but for the community," said Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, the commander of the 7th Infantry Division as he addressed the audience.

Harrison was born in Pembroke, Kentucky on July 2 1933. He joined the Army in 1954 and was a career officer. His career took him around the world. He served in West Germany, Iran and Vietnam. While in Korea he led two companies of the 7th Infantry Division, and would later be the divisions' commanding general. In the U.S. he served in several staff positions at installations around the country, including I Corps at Fort Lewis. He retired from the Army in 1991.

>>> Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, speaks during the dedication of the Division's new headquarters, Harrison Hall. Harrison Hall is named for Lt. Gen. (ret) William Harrison, who was the ceremony's guest of honor. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

After leaving the military, he had several posts in government and the private sector, serving as an advisor to the governor of California. He eventually co-chaired the Lakewood incorporation effort and was elected to the city's first city council in September 1995. He was elected the city's first mayor one month later.

Since then, he's been an instructor at Pierce College and currently sits on the Pierce College Foundation board. He also serves on the boards of the Lakewood YMCA, USO Puget Sound Area, the Pierce County Mental Health Oversight Board and countless other organizations.

>>> Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commanding general of I Corps, speaks at the dedication of the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commanding general of I Corps, thanked him for his service and ongoing support of the military, mentioning to the audience that Harrison has attended nearly every ceremony they've had.

When it was his turn to speak, Harrison was helped to the podium by his son, Lanza and Ferrell. The old soldier spoke softly into the microphone as he reflected on his service in uniform, and beyond. He specifically addressed those soldiers who were preparing to leave the service. "There truly is life after the Army," he told the crowd.

>>> Canadian Brig. Gen. Carl Turenne shakes hands with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison after the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters named in his honor. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

After the ceremony, attendees came up to shake hands and chat with Harrison. One of them was Brig. Gen. Carl Turenne, the Canadian army officer serving as the deputy commander of I Corps.

"It's an honor to be part of this team," he told The Ranger after chatting with Harrison.

Turenne said Harrison's career and his contributions to the military and his community sets an example to soldiers everywhere. "You want to emulate a guy like Lt. Gen. Harrison," Turenne said.

August 26, 2014 at 11:56am

I Corps mechanics assist 191st Inf. Bde. and Idaho Army National Guard at the Orchard Combat Training Center

Spc. Mark R Richards, a mechanic with 1st Corps’ headquarters support company, removes a starter from a Humvee during a during an exercise at the Orchard Combat Training Center, Id., on Aug. 15, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Adam C. Keith

Mechanics from 1st Corps' Headquarters Support Company are spending the month of August supporting the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, an Idaho Army National Guard unit, and the 191st Infantry Brigade, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, during a training rotation at the Orchard Combat Training Center, located just outside of Boise, Idaho.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jose A. Yanes, the 191st Brigade's maintenance technician, said the mechanics were needed to help augment his unit's maintenance capabilities.

"When the 1st Corps' soldiers arrived, we really didn't know what to expect, but they have been nothing but a great help to us," he said.

Yanes said the mechanics work has been vital because the units at the training areas are running 24-hour operations, so they have been working 12-hour shifts keeping the brigade's vehicles in working order.

"The Humvees are the main means of transportation for the observers, coaches, and trainers out here. They use these vehicles up to 20 hours a day and they have limited time to refit," he said. "When they come in here we have to fix any issues and get (the Humvees) on the way as quickly as possible."

>>> Spc. Chris J. Vetter, a mechanic with 1st Corps' headquarters support company, removes a starter from a Humvee during a during an exercise at the Orchard Combat Training Center, Id., Aug. 15, 2014. Vetter is part of a group of 1st Corps mechanics working around the clock to support the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, an Idaho Army National Guard unit, and the 191st Infantry Brigade during their training rotation at the OCTC. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Adam C. Keith

Sgt. Carlos Villa Jr., a heating and air conditioning technician with HSC 1st Corps, said the mechanics have also had the chance to perform six recovery operations while at the training area as well as cross train with each other.

"To be honest, I think I learn a lot more from my soldiers out here than they learn from me," he said. "Tomorrow we are going to swap out an engine in a Humvee and that's something I've always wanted to learn how to do; so I'm excited about that."

Villa said he also appreciates the time that being out in the field gives him to get to learn more about the soldiers he works with on a daily basis.

"One of the biggest things out here is the time we have to bond with other soldiers in our unit," said Villa. "Back in garrison you don't really have that opportunity all of the time, but over here you have 12 hours to talk and get to know each other."

Yanes said thanks to the efforts of the mechanics, the operational readiness rate for the 191st has been steady at over 98 percent.

"The 191st would be dead in the water if they weren't here; they are a great asset to have," added Yanes. "They are well motivated and have been doing nothing but great work."

June 10, 2014 at 9:46pm

Straight Talk: Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza discusses Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the community and the future

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza understands perfectly well the function of a town hall meeting.

"This brings us together," the commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord said this morning.

"Members from the business community, academia and local government are here," he said to the nearly 100 listeners.

Eagles Pride Golf Course at DuPont hosted the two-hour event. 

In a candid, clear and relaxed manner, Lanza talked about the trust the Army and JBLM have built with the local area and the sustainment of the force as the country faces uncertain economic times.

"We will sustain the trust we have built with this community," Lanza said.  "Forums like this build on that trust."

Read more...

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