Japan Ministry of Defense

New Year’s Address by Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa

Japan Defense Focus No.17

The 2010 airdrop drill by the First Airborne Brigade takes place at the Narashino Training Ground, January 10.



The airdrop drill was observed by Minister of Defense, Toshimi Kitazawa.

Toshimi Kitazawa, Minister of Defense, observing the drill Toshimi Kitazawa, Minister of Defense, observing the drill The drill takes place under the bright blue sky. The drill takes place under the bright blue sky.

On January 10, the 2010 airdrop drill by the First Airborne Brigade (Commander: Major General Masahiro Nagai) was conducted at the Narashino Training Ground. This training event takes place annually, and has been open to the public since 1974. There were approximately 10,000 spectators this year.

The drill began at 11 a.m., when CH-47 helicopters appeared in the skies over the practice ground. Led by the commander Major General Nagai, the commander of Special Operation Group, Colonel Aoki, Staff Sergeant Hino, the youngest of the brigade, Private Kodera and several other soldiers made a 340 meter parachute jump.

Minister of Defense, Toshimi Kitazawa, who had been observing the airdrop, then ascended the platform for the review and the airdrop battle drill began, observed by senior personnel from the Self-Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense, National Diet members, and representatives of the United States Forces.

This year, approximately 400 GSDF members took part in the drill, with over 20 aircraft, including a C-130, a C-1, and CH-47Js and 53 vehicles including 74 tanks and light armored vehicles.

To begin with, 1,400 meter drops by members of the reconnaissance squadron, reconnaissance operation by reconnaissance helicopters and a drill for suppression against enemies at a landing site by anti-tank helicopters. A rifle platoon of 80 members then did a drop from a transport aircraft. They carried out simulated combat training such as forming a line of defense with a motor unit and blocking an invasion by enemy armored forces with gaining support of firing from helicopters.

Under the fine weather with occasional strong cold winds, about 10,000 spectators turned their intent looks on the a spectacle of the drill.

After the airdrop drill was over, the members of the brigade in formed lines, Defense Minister Kitazawa addressed as follows:

“Observing the first drill in this new year by the First Airborne Brigade, I feel great pride as Minister of Defense in being here today with the members of the brigade with high morale and proficiency.

The Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces require a ready response to new threats and various situations, and the role of the First Airborne Brigade with superior maneuverability continues to be vital.

Much attention tends to be paid to the First Airborne Brigade’s aerial operations, but your operations after landing are also extremely important. I know that you have gained the skills necessary for the execution of your missions and built up your bodies and disciplined your mind through hard training in which you often have to place yourselves in the extremely severe situation without any sleep and rest in several days.

I know that the first airdrop drill is a traditional event for the First Airborne Brigade. I hope that you will enhance the First Airborne Brigade which your predecessors had built up and devote yourselves to training under the command of Major General Nagai to live up to the trust and expectations of the public. I also wish you all the best in health and achievement.

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