An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | June 11, 2020

U.S. Army Japan Celebrates 245th Army Birthday with Competitions

By Winifred Brown

CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- When a group of patriots formally banded together to form the U.S. Army on June 14, 1775, they dedicated themselves to overcoming challenges in the name of equality, freedom and justice.

In honor of the Army’s 245th birthday, U.S. Army Japan Soldiers followed in their footsteps here June 8 and 9 with challenging competitions that included a modified Army Combat Fitness Test and a grueling four-mile functional fitness route.

“There was a lot of competition,” said Lt. Col. Roberto Herrera, lead planner of the USARJ Army Week Warrior Games. “Units want to be the No. 1, so they put their best Soldiers forward to beat the competition.”

To prevent COVID-19 throughout the events, Soldiers practiced social distancing, graders wore face masks and gloves, and personnel sanitized every piece of equipment before and after each use, Herrera said.

Soldiers, meanwhile, said they enjoyed getting to know those from other units, and that the event helped strengthen cooperation through teamwork and friendly competition.

“It’s Army Week and it’s fun,” said Staff Sgt. Karim Acosta, a member of the Medical Activity – Japan team. “It’s good esprit de corps for us. Since we don’t get to do this a lot, it’s good for us to be able to get out there and showcase what the medical community has to offer.”

Staff Sgt. Sharonica White, assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Japan, said the competition helped get Soldiers’ minds off COVID-19 and improve morale.

“It was a great thing to do for Army Week because it helped the Soldiers to get out of the barracks and get more camaraderie within the units here at Camp Zama,” White said.

The competition gave Soldiers a chance to show off their physical abilities and create resiliency while having fun and being competitive, White said.

First Lt. Daniel Mauldin, assigned to the 78th Signal Battalion, said he and the four other members of his team wanted to compete to challenge themselves.

“The Army is all about pushing yourself, bettering yourself and competition, and that’s what this is—competing against all our sister units here in U.S. Army Japan,” Mauldin said. “Regardless of how we do at the end, it’s how we challenged ourselves. That’s the key.”

Pfc. Savon Simmons, assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said he appreciated the opportunity to challenge himself alongside other Soldiers during the ACFT competition.

“It gets us to work together, which is good for morale,” Simmons said. “You’ve got a lot of teamwork, and you’ve got a lot of people behind you. It gets different people together to see what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are.”

Simmons added: “This will make you sweat.”

Day one featured a modified ACFT with a three-repetition maximum deadlift; a standing power throw; hand-release pushups; a sprint, drag, carry event; leg tucks; and a 2-mile run.

Staff Sgt. Leroy Mendez, assigned to the 78th Signal Battalion and an organizer of the ACFT competition, said 32 Soldiers competed the first day.

“Especially with everything going on right now [with COVID-19], it’s a perfect opportunity for all of us to come together to compete against each other,” Mendez said. “It’s the nature of the Army. That’s what we like to do: We like to compete.”

On day two, the Functional Fitness Team Competition included eight stations around Camp Zama. The challenges featured an obstacle course with 19 obstacles, a litter carry, and various physical challenges such as a deadlift, pushups and leg tucks.

Staff Sgt. Bianca Pollard, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USARJ, and an organizer of the functional fitness competition, said 21 teams competed and each team had to have at least four participants.

“This has a lot to do with readiness,” Pollard said. “We push people to pass the limits they normally don’t reach with the obstacle course event. This is really good for that. It pushes you past your strengths.”

First Sgt. Alonte Washington, assigned to the 35th CSSB, said the functional fitness test challenged him mentally and physically, and he enjoyed it.

“The best part was being able to compete with all the other organizations and push the Soldiers while challenging myself,” Washington said.

Maj. Gen. Viet X. Luong, commander of USARJ; USARJ Command Sgt. Maj. Scott A. Beeson; Col. Thomas Matelski, commander of USAG-J; and USAG-J Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman attended the awards ceremony at USARJ headquarters June 10.

Luong congratulated the winners and said he is proud to be a member of the Army, which has stepped up to the nation’s calling since it formed nearly 245 years ago.

The Army remains an organization dedicated to equality, justice and defense of the constitution, Luong said.

In the ACFT competition, Capt. Patrick Sorensen, assigned to USARJ, came in first with 594 out of 600 points; Sgt. Zachariah Storm, assigned to MEDDAC-J, came in second with 592 points; and Chief Warrant Officer 2 River Mitchell, assigned to the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, came in third with 582 points.

In the functional fitness competition, the 35th CSSB came in first with a team that included Washington, 2nd Lt. David J. Drury, 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Lett, Spc. Michael L. Eubanks, Pfc. Christian E. Hicks and Sgt. Michael Howard. The 38th ADA Bde. came in second with a team that included Mitchell, Master Sgt. Kevin Rainey, 1st Lt. Connor Camp, Sgt. Alexander Figueroa and Spc. H. W. Londagin. MEDDAC-J came in third and included Acosta, Storm, Staff Sgt. Michael Ware and Spc. Miguel Lucio.

Luong also presented Army Week impact awards to Mendez, Sgt. Trenton Chambers and Capt. James Huff for their roles in organizing the events.

Leaders also announced the Commander’s Cup winners. The 78th Signal Battalion placed first with 182 points; U.S. Army Garrison Japan placed second with 163 points; and HHC USARJ, comprised of Soldiers from USAG-J, the 35th CSSB and I Corps Forward, finished third with 162 points.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. 7th Fleet, Blue Ridge Team Conduct Maneuvering Exercise with French Navy
240614-N-PH222-1064
PHILIPPINE SEA (June 14, 2024) - U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), left, conducts a maneuvering exercise with the French Navy Aquitaine-class frigate FS Bretagne (D 655) in the Philippine Sea during Valiant Shield 2024, June 14, 2024. Exercises such as Valiant Shield allow the Indo-Pacific Command Joint Forces the opportunity to integrate forces from all branches of services and with our allies to conduct precise, overwhelming multi-axis, multi-domain effects that demonstrate the strength and versatility of the Joint Force and our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan M. Breeden)
June 17, 2024 - Sailors assigned to both U.S. 7th Fleet and the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) conducted a maneuvering exercise with the French Navy Aquitaine-class frigate FS Bretagne (D 655), during Valiant Shield 2024, June...

Hawaii Air National Guard Hosts Sentry Aloha Joint Exercise
An A-10 Warthog and F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center, an F-16 from the 177th Fighter Wing, an F-35A Lighting II from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, and an F-22 Raptor, operated by the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons, assemble during exercise Sentry Aloha 24-2 June 6, 2024, above the island of Hawaii. This iteration of the exercise involved approximately 1,060 participants and more than 40 aircraft from nine states,  operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and Onizuka Kona International Airport, Keāhole.
June 17, 2024 - The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing concluded the latest iteration of its ongoing fighter exercise, Sentry Aloha 24-2, June 12 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam...

Strengthening Military-Civilian Relations and Partnerships on Global Health Security
Australian Rear Adm. Sonya Bennett, Australian Defence Force surgeon general, gives opening remarks to the Military Civilian Health Security Summit co-hosted by the Australian Defence Force, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Sydney, June 16, 2024. Established in 2018, the MCHSS symbolizes a unified commitment to address global health security challenges and provides an opportunity for participants to share valuable insights and enhance regional readiness by improving coordination and collaboration between military and civilian entities. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies and deterring aggression. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Riel)
June 17, 2024 - SYDNEY — The Australian Defence Force and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command co-hosted the Military Civilian Health Security Summit in Sydney, June 16-17, bringing together 23 Indo-Pacific partner nations, international organizations,...

U.S.-Philippine littoral live-fire training success
U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, assemble a GBU-32 joint direct attack munition onto a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II with VMFA-214, MAG 13, 3rd MAW, before a littoral live-fire exercise off the coast of Ilocos Norte and Zambales during Marine Aviation Support Activity 24 on Clark Air Base, Philippines, June 15, 2024. The LLFX showcased the integrated command and control capabilities of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces in a territorial defense scenario featuring a coordinated bilateral and maritime strike. MASA is an annual Philippine-U.S. military exercise focused on mutual defense, strengthening relationships, and rehearsing emerging aviation concepts. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Shaina Jupiter)
June 17, 2024 - On June 15, 2024, elements of the Philippine and U.S. armed forces conducted a live-fire event for Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 24. MASA is an annual Philippine-U.S. military exercise taking place in the...

U.S. Coast Guard hosts cadets from Japanese Coast Guard Training Ship Kojima
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam and Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu personnel stand for a photo with over 40 cadets from the Japanese Coast Guard training ship Kojima during their visit to Guam on June 12, 2024. The event marked a significant moment of international cooperation and camaraderie between the two maritime services. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Josiah Moss)
June 17, 2024 - The U.S. Coast Guard hosted Capt. Kazushi Sakae and over 40 cadets from the Japanese Coast Guard training ship, Kojima, during their visit to Guam on June 12, 2024...