The Iron Fist 2019 multilateral training event concluded earlier this month, which included the certification of Japan’s first amphibious assault force. Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers with the newly minted 1st Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade took part in the Iron Fist exercises, which included tasks in sharpshooting, amphibious reconnaissance and landing missions, and other areas. The 14th installment of Iron First also marked the first time Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers brought their own amphibious assault vehicles. Classes at Forest Light 19.2 covered material on unmanned aerial systems and improvised explosive devices
Iron Fist, held in Southern California, was one of two training exercises between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force this month. The other, Forest Light 19.2, will conclude Friday in Japan’s Aibano Maneuver Area and has included roughly 400 U.S. Marines based in Okinawa, the Marine Corps said in a separate release. Making matters more difficult in Southern California, soldiers had to contend with rain during many of the exercises this year Separated by nearly 10,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean, these exercises are taking place at the same time. U.S.-Japan exercises like these are vital for rapid expeditionary response to support regional security.
The training builds on longstanding military ties between the two countries, which have been treaty allies for nearly 70 years. It is designed to improve the ability of the U.S. Marine Corps and Japanese Force to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations. The Japan Ground Self Defense Force was established to protect the country, uphold security and maintain peace. Japan continues to have concerns over China’s increasing military strength and an ongoing conflict between the two countries over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. In 2012, Japan nationalized the islands, which are near rich fishing grounds and untapped natural gas.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)