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    Warriors of the Sea train and teach in their element

    Warriors of the Sea train and teach in their element

    Photo By Sgt. Alvin Pujols | Soldiers with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force practice assault amphibious...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Alvin Pujols 

    13th Marine Expeditionary Unit   

    The assault amphibious vehicle is a tool that has bolstered the Marine Corps’ reputation for being lethal from the sea.
    During Exercise Iron Fist 2017, an annual exercise building on more than a decade of interoperability with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment, U.S. Marines with Headquarters and Services Company, 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion taught soldiers with the JGSDF the basics of operating an AAV aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 13, 2017.
    With the JGSDF increasing their amphibious capabilities and setting up a new unit known as the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade with a similar mission to Marine Expeditionary Unit, the demand for knowledge and training for operating an AAV has become a necessity.
    “We will be taking everything we are learning back to Japan to start our own AAV School,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tomohisa Hirakawa, an AAV operator with the JGSDF.
    During their time in the U.S., the Japanese soldiers have learned vehicle recovery, amphibious assault tactics and how to operate the AAV on land and at sea
    “We have been using the crawl, walk, run method to ensure the Japanese soldiers are well prepared,” said Sgt. Charles Fernandez, an AAV crewman with 3rd AAB. “So yesterday we had them operate on land, today we are having them operate in calm waters and tomorrow they will operate in the open ocean.”
    One difficulty when operating a watercraft is the transition from land to sea that must be overcome.
    “Operating on land is easy, the hard part is going into the water,” said Hirakawa. “There are no brakes in the water so if you want to stop you have maneuver to a stop.”
    Even Fernandez, who has operated AAVs his entire Marine Corps career, remembers learning the difficulty transitioning from land driving to sea driving.
    “There is no friction in the water and you have to remember that whenever you have to stop or maneuver in a specific direction,” said Fernandez
    The Japanese soldiers faced the challenge head on and were quick to overcome any issues.
    “Whenever a problem presented itself during training the Japanese soldiers would solve the issue and if it came up again they would react quickly,” said Fernandez. “They were not only quick learners but had an instant willing obedience to orders. Whenever I made a correction they would immediately fix it without hesitation.”
    As the U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers continue to exchange military techniques and tactics, they also build bonds and make memories. For some of the Japanese soldiers, the AAV was a symbol of the Marines many amphibious triumphs.
    “Whenever I saw an AAV I knew it was the Marines, for me it was like their trademark,” said Hirakawa. “It is an honor to be working and learning from them.”
    While the U.S. and Japanese forces continue training on land and sea, they will soon embark a naval vessel in order to put everything they are learning to the test and employ techniques, tactics and procedures while operating from ship to shore.



    Date Taken: 02.13.2017
    Date Posted: 02.14.2017 19:23
    Story ID: 223558

    Web Views: 202
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    Warriors of the Sea train and teach in their element