News: Marines, JGSDF conduct immediate-action drill training
Story by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Through rocky terrain, a squad of U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers patrol an area known to have enemy insurgents.
Without warning, the squad begins to take fire.
“Contact right!” yells the squad leader.
The rest of the men echo “Contact right!” as they turn and engage the enemy, laying suppressive fire while the squad begins to egress to a location where they will have fire superiority.
This was the scene as Marines with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, trained with soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force on day and night immediate-action drills during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 4, 2014.
Iron Fist is an amphibious exercise that brings together Marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 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.
“We had a good day of training out here,” said Gunnery Sgt. Rob Turek, platoon sergeant, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. “We’re sharing a lot of tactics that we use with the Japanese soldiers and observing theirs.”
The training started with the Japanese soldiers observing how the Marines conducted IA drills and critiqued them after each drill.
“What’s impressive is how quickly [Marines] engage the enemy,” said a Japanese soldier during the critique.
Ready to showcase their tactics, the Japanese soldiers performed their IA drills, while the Marines watched and took mental notes to help them improve.
“You did a really good job communicating who was moving and reloading, but you need to pick up your rate of fire as soon as you take that initial contact,” Turek said to the Japanese soldiers during their after-action brief. “You have to send a wall of lead that will force [the enemy’s] head down, giving your squad a chance to either advance or move to a safer position.”
The Marines then integrated squads with the Japanese soldiers so they could execute IA drills using each other’s tactics.
“There really isn’t much of a difference between the two ways,” Turek said. “They are both effective.”
As the sun began to set, the Marines and Japanese soldiers prepared their equipment for the night shoot. Both services would be using night vision systems to engage targets.
“The night IA drills were a success,” Turek said. “Everyone was safe, but we made it as realistic as possible.”