Operation Rising Thunder Comes to a Close - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Operation Rising Thunder Comes to a Close

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Operation Rising Thunder officially came to a close Tuesday at the Yakima Training Center.

The Japanese Ground Defense Forces will head home this week after a month of training alongside the U.S. Army at the Training Center.

Both sides shared gifts with each other during Tuesday's closing ceremony. The Army says this operation helps improve the nation's military alliance.

"This strategic alliance between the United States and Japan is extremely important," Col. Bill Burleson said. "By training together, working together and living together, we get better everyday."

More than 800 American and 500 Japanese soldiers participated in the operation over the past month.