By Marine Cpl. Matthew Bragg
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII – Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force showcased their amphibious landing and beach assault capabilities for the first time at Pyramid Rock Beach here July 1.
The JGSDF conducted the training as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014 alongside U.S. Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Okinawa, Japan.
RIMPAC 2014 is the U.S. Pacific Command’s largest maritime exercise and provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
The JGSDF boarded four of their amphibious warfare vessels and floated out to sea to begin their training.
Nearly a half a mile from the beach, four teams of two soldiers exited the vessels and began to ingress toward the shore. When they washed up on the sand, the soldiers quickly set up a security perimeter along the shore before advancing positions.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Goddard, a corpsman with 3rd Recon Bn., said the Japanese soldiers are a self-sufficient group of men. “They occasionally ask us for tips regarding training, but they always bring their own gear with them and run the show,” said the 23-year-old Las Vegas, Nev., native.
On the beach, the teams-of-two advanced positions from sand to shrubbery to find cover and camouflage. When he confirmed his team members were in place, the squad leader established a landing point for the rest of his team and signaled them to shore.
The soldiers landed their vessels, anchored them in the sand and took position next to their squad members.
From there, they tactically patrolled through the thick bushes up the hills beyond the beach toward their objective.
At the top of the last hill, the soldiers once again concealed themselves to conduct “reconnaissance,” which would complete their mission.
They accomplished their primary mission, and they retreated back to their vessels on the beach before ending the exercise. The JGSDF gathered near their boats and conducted an after action review to discuss things they excelled in and areas they could improve.
Marines overseeing the exercise said they were impressed at how well the JGSDF conducted their mission.
“These guys know what they’re doing,” Goddard said. “It’s good that they have this training because it means we would operate similarly in case we ever worked with them in future operations.”
The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.