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Photo submitted by Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
Soldiers of 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, conduct movement under fire training at the National Training Center earlier this month. The unit from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., began a four-week rotation at the NTC on Jan.13 and will continue through early February.

3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team trains at Fort Irwin


FORT IRWIN • The Army’s the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, is wrapping up a month of intense training at Fort Irwin along with units from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force — a first for the local Army post.

The soldiers arrived at the National Training Center from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, located in Washington, to begin a four-week rotation of realistic training in 1,200 square miles of desert terrain.

According to Capt. Christopher Swartz, public affairs officer with 3-2 SBCT, the Decisive Action Training Environment provides the brigade with challenges that include facing guerilla forces, insurgents, criminal elements and a near-peer conventional force.

It is also the first time there has been rotation of a unit from Japan at Fort Irwin.

Approximately 180 JGSDF soldiers from the Fuji Training Center, near Mt. Fuji, are partnered with 3-2 SBCT. They have been integrated into the Decisive Action Training Environment training, as the Japanese aim to improve unit capabilities and enhance interoperability between both countries’ units, according to Lt. Col. Nobuyuki Ishii.

Ishii, the lead staff officer of JGSDF, said the National Training Center offers training opportunities not always available at the unit’s home locations in Japan.

“This is a very different training environment for us,” Ishii said. “In Japan, the maneuver area is limited and in a much smaller area. Not only is this a larger physical environment, suitable for large-scale training, but we think the experience in a harsh, desert environment will toughen our soldiers.”

Bair said the partnership training between the 3-2 SBCT and JGSDF is an extension of relationships that the U.S. maintains in the Pacific. Bair said working with allies offers great opportunities during the evolution of the realignment strategy.

According to Bair, the 3-2 SBCT and JGSDF are aligned to the Pacific Command in the Pacific area of operations. The United States Pacific Command is one of six geographic Unified Combatant Commands of the U.S. Armed Forces around the world. Army brigades are being designated as aligned forces to those commands. Bair said the brigade will become a recognized force by the Army, called the Regionally Aligned Force, sometime in spring.

“It just gives us opportunity to build familiarity as we grow our partnerships in the Pacific, to build and learn from one another,” Bair said. “Certainly, it’s generating excitement for us as we get familiar with them. I think it’s going to be a fantastic rotation having them here.”

—Fort Irwin public affairs officers Gus Bahena and Lez Ozawa contributed to this report.

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or

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