POULTNEY - Vermont Brig. Gen. Matthew A. McCoy of Poultney joined fellow soldiers from the N.Y. Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division and supporting commands deployed here to northern Japan for the annual bilateral command post training exercise Yama Sakura alongside partners from the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces.
The JGSDF Northern Army hosts the exercise, which includes representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units from more than a dozen states besides New York.
McCoy, is assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters. McCoy lives in Poultney and is the deputy commander of the operation.
"This exercise proves the strength of the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and Japan," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general, U.S. Army, Pacific.
"In order to further improve our bilateral response capabilities," said Lt. Gen. Takeshi Sakai, commanding general of the JGSDF Northern Army, "I request that you all make coordination between our forces and make bold, daring attempts to meet new challenges without fear of mistakes."
"We will prepare ourselves for future threats and enhance our relationship, as well as gain a greater understanding of civil-military operations," said McCoy.
More than 5,700 personnel will participate in the exercise. Yama Sakura, which means "Mountain Cherry Blossom," is an annual joint and combined full-spectrum training exercise. Supporting the 42nd Infantry Division in Japan are approximately 120 Soldiers with an additional 50 Soldiers deployed to Fort Lewis, Wash. for exercise support.
Since its start in 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the refinement of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability.
Members of the unit were expected to return to their homes to New York and Vermont Dec. 15.