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World War II veterans group visits I Corps, JBLM

Nisei Vets meet local troops

I Corps Public Affairs A Soldier with the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery, explains some of the capabilities of the M777A2 Howitzer to members of the Nisei Veterans group during a tour of Joint Base Lewis-McChord M

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I Corps hosted a tour for the Seattle Chapter of the Nisei Veterans, a group of Japanese-American World War II veterans and their descendants, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord March 3.

“This is a special day, said Lt. Col. J.D. Williams, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment commander, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery.

The Nisei Veterans and I Corps have had a close relationship for several years.

Last year, some of the group members visited the Yakima Training Center during Rising Thunder, a bilateral exercise between U.S. and Japanese forces.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior leaders have also regularly visited the group in Seattle during special events such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

I Corps is partnered with Seattle through a community connector program and regularly hosts tours at JBLM to give people an idea of what goes on behind the gates.

March 3’s tour, however, was all about getting to talk with Soldiers and Airmen, and began with an overview of I Corps’ mission in the Pacific and as a globally responsive force.

“(We want) to give you a picture of what we do, (to) help shape the rest of the day as you go out and visit,” said Maj. Joseph Byrnes, a plans officer with I Corps, during a briefing to the group. “We are regionally aligned to the Pacific command … and conduct engagements and exercises throughout the Pacific region.”

I Corps conducts a number of security cooperation engagements in the Pacific every year, such as Rising Thunder. The corps also has Soldiers assigned across the Pacific Theater, to include Alaska, Hawaii and Japan.

Afterward, the Nisei Vets had a chance to meet with Soldiers and Airmen to get a close-up look at some of the equipment being used by the force today.

Members from the 1-37 FA showcased the capabilities of the M777A2 Howitzer, along with the M4 carbine rifle, M9 pistol and the M2 and M240B machine gun. They also had a chance to interact with some of the personal protective equipment used by Soldiers, such as the Improved Outer Tactical Vest and eye protection.

To say thank you, the Nisei Veterans presented I Corps with a token of appreciation during the tour.

“We wanted to say thank you for all you’ve done for us over the years and for being our (friend),” said Yuzo Tokita, a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of the Nisei Vets. “It means a lot to all of us that you take the time to do things like this.”

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