U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) soldiers conducted waterborne operations in U.S. amphibious combat vehicles (ACVs) and Japanese assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) during bilateral amphibious assault training at White Beach, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 1-2, as part of exercise Iron Fist 2022. Iron Fist is a bilateral exercise between the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and JGSDF that has been ongoing for almost two decades. This year’s iteration of Iron Fist also marks the first time that Marine Corps’ ACVs have conducted waterborne operations as part of a named exercise.
“Conducting a bilateral amphibious assault with the JGSDF tested my Marines’ ability to control the amphibious movement of different vehicular platforms across a communication barrier – the goal being that they phase ashore at the right time with as much combat power as possible,” said 1st Lt. Turner Brown, platoon commander with 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd AA Bn., 1st MARDIV. “We (Marines) benefitted by learning their (JGSDF) approach to training, their problem solving steps, and their tactics, techniques and procedures. We will now integrate what we learned into our own approach to training.”
During this amphibious assault training, Marines embarked on ACVs assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion (AA Bn.), 1st Marine Division (MARDIV), and JGSDF soldiers embarked on AAVs assigned to 2nd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment, Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB). Facing the shore, both units executed a joint support-by-fire maneuver from the sea. The training culminated in a bilateral assault from the sea to the shore. While establishing an inland blocking position, the training replicated the isolation of multiple objectives for an infantry company to conduct a heliborne raid.
The amphibious assault training allowed for U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers to build a stronger partnership between both nations by producing positive results through interoperability and unit cohesion if either nation were to require assistance from one another. “In order to gain success, we must gain enough training and experience through exercises like Iron Fist,” said Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) training officer Capt. Daisuke Takeda, through a translator.