NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. - Japanese soldiers with the Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, donned full wetsuits for boat training hosted at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, yesterday.
The boat training was the first part of Exercise Iron Fist 2012, and featured the surf passages portion of the Coxswain Skills Course taught by Marines of the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific.
The CSC is part of a special operations qualification for boat companies in infantry battalions, however, this time it was the Japanese soldiers who conducted the training, which demonstrated the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's amphibious capability.
"California is a different part of the world, with different scenery than what they are used to. It is always good to teach them some knowledge, and it enhances the relationship between the two militaries," said Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Carlson, amphibious raid instructor, EWTGPAC.
Exercise Iron Fist is an opportunity for both militaries to learn from each other and is a unique training opportunity.
"It is a learning experience on both ends," said the 30-year-old San Diego native. "We learn from them just as much as they learn from us even if we are here to teach them something as specific as boat training."
Amphibious raid instructors laid the ground work for training which the JGSDF will use later on in the exercise.
"The JGSDF take the instruction we've given them over the years and have used it to fit their missions," Capt. Timothy J. Storey, amphibious raid officer-in-charge, EWTGPAC. "Overall, I hope they grow in their comfort level in conducting small boat amphibious operations."
Boats are one of many amphibious means the Marine Corps uses to move troops ashore in an expeditionary manner.
The 15th MEU is currently training for a routine seven-month deployment later this fall.