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 | Dec. 4, 2023

Ceremony Opens Yama Sakura 85 for Australian, U.S. Troops, JGSDF Members

By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Sword, 11th Airborne Division

With the temperatures outside below freezing, American soldiers from the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne Division and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members stood tall, saluting the flags of their home countries. And for the first time in 41 years, Australian soldiers were alongside them, saluting their own.

Yama Sakura 85, now a trilateral command post exercise, continues the exercise’s long history of U.S. and Japanese cooperation adding a third participating partner country, bringing the soldiers of the Australian Army’s 1st division to the shores of Hokkaido.

“Australia's participation in Exercise Yama Sakura 85 is a significant step forward in our trilateral relationship,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Winter, commanding general of the Australian Army’s 1st Division. “After being observers of this excellent exercise for 10 years, we are very proud to have been invited to be full participants in this iteration.”

Matching the trilateral nature of the exercise, the opening ceremony at Camp Higashi-Chitose was just one across Japan, with two more happening simultaneously at Camp Sendai and Camp Asaka.

With nearly 6,000 troops representing the three countries across four locations in Japan and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State, U.S.A., YS 85 is a demonstration of projecting and sustaining forces outside the exercise’s simulation, while pushing the limits within it.

“Over the next 10 days, our forces will participate in complex, challenging operations, including Multi-Domain Operations and with the JGSDF, Cross-Domain Operations,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David B. Womack, commanding general of U.S. Army Japan. “There are things that only combat divisions can do, and to have combat divisions part of this exercise signifies a commitment and a difference from what has occurred in the previous 41 years.”

The presence of two U.S. divisions and an Australian division at this year’s Yama Sakura is an evolution sprung from both the long history of the exercise and events across the globe.

“I think it is essential to fundamentally reinforce our defense capabilities, and to further strengthen the deterrence and the response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance in the region, to reinforce cooperation with like minded countries,” said Lt. Gen. Hiroaki Sueyoshi, commanding general of the Northern Army JGSDF.

While the exercise is primarily focused on readiness and improved operations between partner nations, YS 85 also helps build relationships in a way that’s unique to multi-national exercises.

“If you walk out of this building at night you will see Japanese, Americans and Australians gathered around, making plans, talking about the exercise,” said Womack. “But also talking about what matters to each other,” said Womack.

For more than forty years, Yama Sakura has demonstrated the strength of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, and with the addition of Australia as an exercise participant, that commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific grows more resolute.

“On behalf of general Flynn, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific, and also Lieutenant general Brunson, America’s First Corps, welcome to the start of Yama Sakura 85,” said Womack.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Strengthening Military-Civilian Relations and Partnerships on Global Health Security
Civilians, defense and security partners within the Indo-Pacific region participate in collaborative panel discussions during the Military Civilian Health Security Summit co-hosted by the Australian Defence Force and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Sydney, June 17, 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 16, 2024 - SYDNEY — The Australian Defence Force, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency co-hosted the Military Civilian Health Security Summit in Sydney, June 16-17, bringing together 23 Indo-Pacific partner...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Indonesia
Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, conducts an inspection with Vice Adm. Erwin S. Aldedharma, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, during his first official visit to Indonesia as USINDOPACOM commander, June 13, 2024. The U.S. and Indonesia share a deep and enduring strategic partnership, anchored in shared values of democracy and a commitment to the rules-based international order. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Bellino)
June 14, 2024 - JAKARTA, Indonesia — Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Indonesia June 11-14, to meet with senior military and government officials as the two nations celebrate the 75th anniversary of...

Joint Task Force Micronesia Holds Assumption of Command Ceremony
Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Rear Adm. Gregory C. Huffman exchange salutes during the Joint Task Force – Micronesia assumption of command ceremony on Andersen Air Force Base, June 14, 2024. During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Gregory C. Huffman assumed command, and will serve as the first two-star admiral in the area in over 70 years. The establishment of Joint Task Force – Micronesia reflects the commitment of Department of Defense to support our pacing challenge throughout the region and bolster homeland defense.
June 14, 2024 - Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, presided over the establishment ceremony of Joint Task Force-Micronesia (JTF-M) at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam on June 14, 2024, where Rear Adm. Gregory C...

613 Air Operations Center strengthens ties with Japan’s Air Defense Command in landmark agreement
240612-F-UX259-1023 (June 12, 2024) Japan Air Self-Defense Force Col. Kohei Kurachi, Commander of the JASDF Air Defense Command Air Operations Center, and U.S. Air Force Col. Chris McFarland, Commander of the 613 Air Operations Center, sign the AOC and ADC standard operating procedure agreement, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Jun. 12, 2024. The two air forces work together to increase readiness, interoperability and support peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Rob Webb)
June 13, 2024 - In a move aimed at bolstering bilateral cooperation, the U.S. Air Force 613th Air Operations Center has signed an agreement with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Air Defense Command at Pacific Air Forces Headquarters...

Remains of Korean War Soldier to be buried in Wrightstown, New Jersey
June 13, 2024 - The remains of Army Pfc. Anthony J. Lopa, a Soldier killed during the Korean War, will be interred June 28 at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veteran Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown, New Jersey. Maxwell Funeral Home, Little Egg...