Naval Warfare

US Navy America Amphibious Ready Group Completes Exercise Iron Fist

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US Navy America Amphibious Ready Group Completes Exercise Iron Fist

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US Navy America Amphibious Ready Group Completes Exercise Iron Fist
US Navy America Amphibious Ready Group Completes Exercise Iron Fist

Sailors assigned to the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, celebrated the completion of the 18th iteration of Exercise Iron Fist, alongside members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), in a ceremony held on the flight deck of the JMSDF ?sumi -class tank landing ship JS Kunisaki (LST-4003), March 17. Exercise Iron Fist is an annual bilateral exercise designed to increase interoperability and strengthen the relationships between the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, the JGSDF, and the JMSDF.

U.S. Marines with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and soldiers with the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, arrive to shore aboard a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force landing craft, air cushion during a bilateral landing for Iron Fist 24, at Kin Blue Beach Training Area, Okinawa, Japan, Mar. 12, 2024.
U.S. Marines with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and soldiers with the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, arrive to shore aboard a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force landing craft, air cushion during a bilateral landing for Iron Fist 24, at Kin Blue Beach Training Area, Okinawa, Japan, Mar. 12, 2024.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler Andrews)

“Exercises like this present a great opportunity for growth and integration,” said Capt. Kelly Fletcher, Commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. “Iron Fist was a success because over the course of the exercise, we have shared best practices, learned from one another, and sharpened our collective swords to improve our ability to conduct combined amphibious operations.”

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U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, disembark a light armored vehicle from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force landing craft, air cushion during a bilateral landing for Iron Fist 24, at Kin Blue Beach Training Area, Okinawa, Japan, Mar. 12, 2024.
U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, disembark a light armored vehicle from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force landing craft, air cushion during a bilateral landing for Iron Fist 24, at Kin Blue Beach Training Area, Okinawa, Japan, Mar. 12, 2024. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler Andrews)

Over the course of the exercise, the America ARG coordinated and executed operations with both the JGSDF and JMSDF to include formation sailing with JMSDF ships, visit, board, search, and seizure exercises, and flight operations with JGSDF aircraft. An amphibious ready group (ARG) of the United States Navy consists of a naval element—a group of warships known as an Amphibious Task Force (ATF)—and a landing force (LF) of U.S. Marines (and occasionally U.S. Army soldiers), in total about 5,000 people. Together, these elements and supporting units are trained, organized, and equipped to perform amphibious operations.

U.S. Navy medical personnel with command element, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a Japan Ground Self Defense Force Boeing CH-47JA Chinook during an en route care exercise for Iron Fist 24, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), in the Western Pacific, March 14, 2024.
U.S. Navy medical personnel with command element, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a Japan Ground Self Defense Force Boeing CH-47JA Chinook during an en route care exercise for Iron Fist 24, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), in the Western Pacific, March 14, 2024. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Abigail Godinez)

The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), comprised of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), under the operational command of PHIBRON 11, are underway conducting routine integrated operations in U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. USS America (LHA 6) mission is to act as the flagship of an expeditionary strike group or amphibious ready group, carrying part of a Marine expeditionary unit into battle and putting them ashore with helicopters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by F-35B Lightning II aircraft and helicopter gunships.

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