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    13th MEU Marines and Japanese soldiers kick off Exercise Iron Fist 2015



    Story by Sgt. Paris Capers 

    13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – U.S. Marines with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit stood alongside soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment to kick off Exercise Iron Fist 2015 during an opening ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 26, 2015.

    Exercise Iron Fist 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the amphibious training partnership with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to enhance United States Marine Corps and JGSDF interoperability, develop the Self-Defense Force’s amphibious capabilities and build military-to-military relationships between the two forces.

    The 13th MEU, one of seven expeditionary, quick reaction forces ready for immediate response to any crisis, has been preparing for the exercise for weeks, as Exercise Iron Fist 2015 is the a rare opportunity to train with their Pacific partners on U.S. soil. More than 700 Marines will be partnering with more than 250 Japanese soldiers during the exercise.

    “On this tenth anniversary of Exercise Iron First, the relationship between the Marine Corps and Ground Self-Defense Force is stronger than ever,” said Brig. Gen. Joaquin Malavet, deputy commanding general for I Marine Expeditionary Force, who spoke to the two forces briefly about the mutual trust and friendship between the U.S. and Japanese forces.

    For the exercise, the MEU will be serving as the Command Element for various I MEF units including Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 13, representing the Ground Combat Element and Logistics Combat Element, respectively. The aviation elements will come from various units in the area.

    Though the training occurs with a different element of I MEF each year, the quality of the training still drives home the importance of amphibious operations.

    “Working with the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy, we learn from their doctrine and policies,” said Col. Yoshiyuki Goto, Commanding Officer for the Western Army Infantry Regiment. “This bilateral training has been a trigger for many programs in our military and our amphibious capabilities have grown each year.”

    Training to grow their amphibious capability is important because Japan, an island nation, intends to stand up an amphibious brigade in the next three years, but the training produces more than stronger amphibious doctrine.

    “I’ve been a part of many exercises like this and they are always great for the Marines,” said Sgt. Major William Slade, sergeant major for the 13th MEU and the senior enlisted advisor for the unit. “This bilateral training lets our Marines experience the culture differences that grows them as expeditionary warfighters.”

    Exercise Iron Fist, which will take place aboard Camp Pendleton and other near-by military installations from Jan. 26 to Feb. 27, includes advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire support and forward observation, and amphibious landing operations.

    Correspondent: Paris.capers@usmc.mil



    Date Taken: 01.26.2015
    Date Posted: 01.26.2015 17:58
    Story ID: 152776
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

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