US Army Japan's G5 Directorate 'walks the talk' on key 'Words to Live By'
published: February 23, 2013
This edition of "Words to Live By" highlights the quiet, consistent and often unheralded efforts of two sections from the United States Army G5 Directorate that particularly exemplify aspects of the "Words to Live By" you can see posted in many areas of each Army installation across Japan -- specifically the goal to be "mentally and physically fit," to "practice the Golden Rule," and to "train your replacement and develop tomorrow's leaders."
While the traditional role and responsibilities of a G5 Directorate in most Army units pertain to planning, given the importance of USARJ's relationship with its host nation, the directorate here is focused solely on bilateral engagement. The USARJ G5 serves as the vanguard of a daily effort to ensure USARJ is in tandem with its Japanese counterparts, ready to conduct its mission with a shared common intent.
The USARJ interpreter-translators play a key role in the G5's ability to accomplish this mission, and they are among the best in their field. In addition, the high operational tempo at USARJ and the professional demands of the directorate's specialty require those ITs to be both mentally and physically fit.
Not only are they required to be fluent linguists, but they must also communicate the unique language of the military -- those "U.S.-specific" terms, phrases and acronyms that make old Soldiers feel comfortable in their profession, but confuse many others. As proof of their command of English, Japanese and military vocabulary, the most skilled translators can conduct simultaneous interpretation when needed. However, this "mental fitness" demands constant maintenance.
To develop their military mental lexicon, USARJ translators must study ceaselessly, with the scope of the military world being their textbook. During a day's mission, a translator may have to cover conversations as diverse as strategic Army-level concepts and the capabilities of specific weapons and communications systems. In short, USARJ translators must usually, in hours and days, pick up the functional lingo acquired over years by the USARJ Soldier or Department of the Army civilian for whom they translate.
In testimony to their professionalism and physical stamina, the USARJ translators are comfortable operating in any environment the USARJ mission requires. Constantly on the move, they can be found wherever a bilateral mission takes place, be it the command post of an exercise such as Yama Sakura or in field conditions at one of the many training areas around Japan. The long days of extreme mental alertness require physically fit individuals with resilient personalities; the members of the USARJ IT team do a commendable job filling this requirement.
The Bilateral Engagement Program, or BEP, facilitates an awareness of U.S. military and American culture within the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. The Golden Rule -- treat others as you wish to be treated -- is interwoven into every aspect of the BEP duty day. The section is quite literally focused on how they want U.S. Soldiers and members of the JGSDF to be treated when they plan the integration of members of a U.S. formation into their host nation's programs, and vice versa. The BEP section plays a unique role in bilateral relations, as the program members strive to achieve a common understanding between the JGSDF and USARJ, and between the U.S. and Japanese culture. Specifically, they facilitate a two-way education in values that more fully enables the Golden Rule.
One component of the BEP is the Cultural Language Exchange Program, or CLEP; this program allows USARJ troops for a very brief period to assist in English-language instruction at the JGSDF language school at Camp Kodaira. This environment offers Army representatives an attentive audience for discussions about our USARJ and I Corps (Forward) mission and American culture. Another BEP activity is the Unit and School Exchange Program, during which functional area expertise is shared by US and Japanese personnel and roundtable discussions are held.
Lastly, no BEP activity is more vital than the Co-Op program, an extensive immersion program which allows select JGSDF officers and noncommissioned officers the opportunity to live and train with USARJ Soldiers for 10 weeks at a time, giving them first-hand knowledge of U.S. Army life and its unique military culture. It is believed that the new knowledge and experiences gained by the U.S. hosts and their Japanese guests will ensure smoother bilateral operations in the future.
These are small, yet important examples that show how the entire G5 team works proudly every day to fulfill its duty providing for the cohesiveness in the partnership between USARJ, the JGSDF and with the Japanese public, so that each group "treats others as they want to be treated." The deep background, and "fitness" of our functional experts, enables the values-based cohesiveness necessary for USARJ's success. Their efforts sow the seeds for tomorrow's shared successes, and the planning and execution of each event develops today's and tomorrow's leaders in both our armies. In summary, the daily actions of the G5 team show that the G5 members "walk the talk" of these timeless "Words to Live By."