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1st Airborne Brigade / Narashino Airborne Brigade

The GSDF now maintains rapid deployment units equipped with specialized functions, such as the 1st Airborne Brigade, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade [ARDB], and the 1st Helicopter Brigade. The 1st Airborne Brigade is Japan's only parachute unit, and as a powerful unit of the Ground Self-Defense Force, it quickly moves in the air and landed with a parachute in the most difficult and important situations in the event of a national crisis such as an invasion or a large-scale earthquake. It is a unit that is required to carry out all missions by parachuting itself. It is stationed in Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture, and is responsible for guarding the Japanese capital.

Paratroopers from the 1st Airborne Brigade participate in various Airborne jumps using C-130 Hercules turboprop aircraft, CH-47 Chinook helicopters, UH-1 Hueys and other available fixed-wing aircraft. They also conduct Air Assaults to display ground combat capabilities. Japan Air Self Defense Force mainly provide fixed-wing aircraft, and the 1st Helicopter Brigade provides rotary wing aircraft.

Japanese brigades are relatively small (between 2,000 and 4,000 personnel), with each unit composed of various types of forces, such as infantry, armored, and artillery units; combat support units; and logistical support units. As part of a regional army, a brigade is regionally independent. Although its function is similar to a division in that it possesses the capability to engage in operations on one front, the brigade has limited capacity relative to a division.

In August 1954, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force dispatched 20 non-commissioned officers to the 187th Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army stationed in Fukuoka Prefecture to receive airborne training. In January 1955, Lu Zi established a parachute training unit called "Temporary Airborne Training Team". In April of the same year, it was transferred to Xizhiye Base, and was later renamed " Airborne Education Team", specializing in training parachute training instructors. Then in January 1956, due to the continuous increase in the number of training personnel of the Airborne Education Team, it was expanded into the "101st Airborne Brigade" (equivalent to a battalion-level unit). During the same period, in order to meet the training needs of airborne fighters, in September 1955, the Ground Self-Defense Force assigned two more officers to the Army Infantry School Cadre Training Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA; The cadet graduated in May 1956 with a U.S. Army Assault badge, and upon returning to Japan, brought their experience to what was then the 101st Airborne Group. On June 25, 1958, the 101st Airborne Brigade was reorganized into the "1st Airborne Brigade", which has been used to this day.

The headquarters of the 1st Airborne Brigade is located at 3-20-1 Yeyuandai, Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture, while the 1st Airborne Brigade is stationed in Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture , near Tokyo. Period belonged to the Army Cavalry School. In addition to the 1st Airborne Brigade, the station also includes the Narashino Residential Operational Team of the Eastern Front, the 320th Base Communications Squadron Narashino Dispatch, the 316th Accounting Team, and the Eastern Intelligence Security Team Narashino Intelligence Security Dispatch; The first anti-aircraft group of the Air Self-Defense Force (with MIM-104 Patriot anti- aircraft missiles ).

The training of Japanese paratroopers is handed over to the airborne education team. The members include volunteers from the paratroopers after the recruit training, as well as non-commissioned officers and officers from general troops from all over Japan. Senior cadres can also participate in parachute training, but those who can complete the training are not paratroopers, but only have a parachute qualification badge.

There are two types of free-fall courses: high-altitude skydiving with low-altitude annihilation (HALO) and high-altitude skydiving with high-altitude open (HAHO). The conditions required to participate in this team skydiving course are that the aviation physiological examination is qualified and the number of basic skydiving times is more than 20. All officers and soldiers who meet the requirements can volunteer to participate, and the training time is 6 weeks.

In the 1990s, the establishment of the 1st Airborne Brigade included: the unit, the management squadron, the general division (infantry group), the special division (artillery battalion), the anti-armor team, the engineering facility team, the health team, and the parachute preparation. Squadron, the total number of about 1200.

Based on the adjustment of combat tasks and the needs of anti-terrorism operations, the 1st Airborne Brigade began to adopt a new establishment in 2004, including the regiment headquarters, headquarters squadrons, 2 general infantry battalions, artillery battalions, and installation squadrons , Communication Squadron, Rear Support Team, Airborne Education Team, etc., with a total number of more than 2,000 people and priority to be organized into anti-terrorism special operations squadron. In addition to performing regular military and assault combat missions, the 1st Airborne Brigade also has some special operations formations to perform special missions that cannot be accomplished by general troops.

In terms of tactical mobility, the entire regiment of the 1st Airborne Brigade, including all equipment and personnel such as light armored vehicles, high-speed vehicles, and 120mm mortars, can be transported by C-130H, C-1 transport aircraft or UH-1H, UH-1 60J/JA, CH-47J/JA helicopters implement rapid delivery; in the event of a crisis, the unit's advance battalion can be deployed by the supporting aircraft within 18 hours after receiving the order.

When the 1st Airborne Brigade is in an emergency, if the Air Self-Defense Force transport aircraft and the helicopters of the Ground Self-Defense Force within the establishment are calculated at an 80% occupancy rate, 160 transport helicopters or 38 transport aircraft can be dispatched at one time to transport 3 airborne assault battalions About 2,000 officers and soldiers and logistical supplies. The airborne troops taking transport helicopters have a maneuvering speed that is 3-4 times that of the Japanese land self-armored mechanized troops. They have strong vertical encirclement and roundabout combat capabilities. When performing tactical encirclement tasks, their speed is 7 times faster than that of ground mobile troops.

When performing combat missions, each unit can advance 150 kilometers per day in cooperation with the helicopter group to maneuver and attack. The three supported attack helicopter battalions can also advance 150 kilometers per day with the cooperation of the advance support base that was quickly opened from the air in advance. This high-speed continuous operation can be carried out for about 72-80 hours.

In defense, the 1st Airborne Brigade can independently perform frontal defense with a width of 50-100 kilometers, and can delay the enemy's attack by identifying terrain points, laying mines, using supporting helicopters or ground ambush assaults. The 1st Airborne Brigade can also serve as a reserve in the east in defensive operations, using its air mobility and the ingenious firepower of ground infantry to counterattack enemy forces that break into the line of defense.

Although the 1st Airborne Brigade uses transport planes or helicopters to land, and has extremely high tactical movement capabilities, it can quickly penetrate the enemy's depth or enter the defensive area, but the 1st Airborne Brigade after the airborne landing is still essentially an airborne brigade. Supporting light infantry units, the sustained combat capability is not strong, and the cooperation of ground heavy troops must be obtained as soon as possible.

On 13 December 2022 Japan's Self-Defense Force parachute unit showed the media a drill aimed at preparing for attacks on the country's remote islands. The 2,000-strong First Airborne Brigade of the Ground Self-Defense Force held the drill at a training ground in Narashino City, near Tokyo. Participating members jumped one after another from aircraft of the SDF and US forces flying about 340 meters high.

The drill was based on a scenario of trying to retake a remote island that an enemy had invaded. After practicing recapturing facilities with support from helicopters, they checked procedures to deploy surface-to-ship missile units and other personnel. The Self-Defense Forces haf been trying in recent years to beef up their capabilities for defending remote islands in view of China's increased maritime activity, and have held drills with US forces for that purpose. The January drills used to be open to the public. But only limited media coverage was allowed in 2021 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Soldiers from U.S. Army Alaska and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force completed Exercise North Wind 2015 21 February 2015. To better understand the capabilities of the two countries' forces, the final week of bilateral training focused on conducting a relief in place, a platoon-level field training exercise, and the first airborne operation in Japan between paratroopers with USARAK's 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division and the JGSDF's 3rd Battalion, 1st Airborne Brigade, Central Readiness Force. The Japanese conducted a relief in place of the U.S. paratroopers on Yamatodai drop zone. Both units then moved into company sectors and conducted a movement to contact against an enemy defending in depth. When enemy locations were identified, the companies attacked.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group put their knees in the breeze with Soldiers from Japan Ground Self Defense Force's 1st Airborne Brigade 08 January 2017 at Camp Narashino near Chiba, Japan. The allied Paratroopers made history, jumping together for the first time at the 50th annual JGSDF First Jump Ceremony, which celebrates the first training event of the new year for the Japanese Paratroopers -- also known as the Narashino Airborne Brigade.

Participation by U.S. Army Paratroopers in the First Jump Ceremony had been a long time coming. The catalyst for the bilateral jump was a visit to Japan's elite Paratoopers by senior leaders from 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division more than three years ago, said Maj. Donald Kim, Foreign Area Officer. A visit to the event in 2016 by U.S. Army Japan Commanding General. Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette set the wheels in motion and approval was granted.

U.S. Army Alaska infantrymen from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers from the 1st Airborne Brigade execute platoon movement-to-contact and support-by-fire operations during Exercise Arctic Aurora at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, June 14, 2018. Arctic Aurora is an annual bilateral training exercise involving elements of U.S. Army Alaska and the JGSDF which focuses on strengthening ties between the two nations by executing combined small-unit airborne proficiency operations and basic small-arms marksmanship.

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Page last modified: 28-03-2023 13:42:56 ZULU