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2-2 SBCT shoot for Japan Marksmanship Badge

Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Japan for Orient Shield 14

Japan Ground Self Defense Forces, Col. Hiroshi Ishida demonstrates to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Armando Martinez from 2-2 SBCT at JBLM with his hands his marksmanship rifle techniques, at Camp Higashi-Chitose, Japan, Nov. 1. Photo credit: 1st Lt. Amy Hanna

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U.S. Army soldiers endeavor to qualify for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's Marksmanship badge, during Orient Shield 14 at Camp Higashi-Chitose, Japan, Nov. 1.

It's a rare occasion for a U.S. Army soldier to have the opportunity to qualify for a foreign marksmanship badge; however, the soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord are taking advantage of bilateral training they are conducting with the JGSDF 11th Infantry Regiment, 7th Armor Division, Oct. 27-Nov. 7.

In order to qualify for the badge, U.S. soldiers are given 29 rounds to fire at a 300-meter target. The first nine rounds are used to zero their rifle. Once zeroed, the next 10 rounds are fired while lying down; five for practice and the remaining five for qualification record. This is followed immediately by firing five additional practice rounds in a kneeling position and the next five are recorded.

"You have to focus on the 300 meter target only, that has been a good test for my marksmanship skills," said Sgt. Adam Knepper.

The JGSDF Marksmanship qualification system is different than the U.S. Army's, where soldiers fire 40 rounds with qualification is based on the overall number of pop up targets hit from 50 meters to 300 meters.

For the JGSDF, points are given for accuracy within a target with more points given for center mass and fewer based on positions moving outward within the target. The maximum points allowed are 50. A minimum of 24 points is required for qualification.

>>> U.S. Army Sgt. Christian Keller and Pvt. Abraham Lee from 2-2 SBCT coach each other on the techniques used to qualify for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Marksmanship Badge. Photo credit: 1st Lt. Amy Hanna

U.S. Army soldiers use their own weapons for the event, but are aided by a Japanese firing evaluation system, or monitor, that records where the round hit the target, allowing them to adjust their shots if needed.

"The JGSDF system is pretty cool. I enjoyed the immediate feedback from the monitor," said Sgt. Christopher Keller from 2nd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.

"I'm very excited to be training with the U.S. and we like to learn from them by continuing to do the bilateral training together," said CPT Ishii Katsuyoshi from the JGSDF 7th Division Headquarters.

1st Lt. Amy Hanna is with the 138th Public Affairs Detachment.

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