News: Marines begin Iron Fist with JGSDF
Story by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Hurtado
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit gathered with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to celebrate the start of Exercise Iron Fist 2014 during an opening ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 23, 2014.
Iron Fist is an amphibious exercise that brings together Marines and sailors from the 15th MEU, other I Marine Expeditionary Force units, and soldiers from the JGSDF, to promote military interoperability and hone individual and small-unit skills through challenging, complex and realistic training.
“The amphibious environment is among the most complex and challenging of all operational environments,” said Brig. Gen. Carl E. Mundy, deputy commanding general, I MEF. “Participants in Iron Fist 2014 will experience the difficulties of operating in this environment over the coming weeks, with the goal of improving our amphibious skills.”
The bilateral exercise is designed to improve amphibious capabilities and interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces, as they continue to develop effective responses to a diverse and changing operational environment.
“We consider this exercise a valuable opportunity where we can learn various techniques from the U.S. forces,” said Japanese Col. Matushi Kunii, commanding officer, Western Army Infantry Regiment.
This is the ninth iteration of the annual training event, which began in 2006, and Marines with the 15th MEU plan to build on a rare opportunity to train with their Pacific ally on U.S. soil.
The training, which will take place aboard Camp Pendleton and other near-by military installations from Jan. 23 to Feb. 24, includes advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire support and forward observation, and amphibious landing operations.