Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif - Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, commanding officer of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, presents a oar as a gift to Col. Ryuki Toyota, the commanding officer of the Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Force during the closing ceremony of exercise Iron Fist 2018, Feb. 12. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral training exercise where U.S. and Japanese service members train together and share techniques, tactics and procedures to improve their combined operational capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jacob A. Farbo)

Photo by Cpl. Jacob Farbo

Exercise Iron Fist 2018: Closing Ceremony

15 Feb 2018 | 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – For more than a decade, the U.S. Marine Corps and Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Force have worked hand-in-hand, conducting bilateral amphibious training exercises in Southern California that focus on advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire and maneuver assaults, staff planning, logistical support, medical knowledge sharing, fire support operations and amphibious landing operations known as Iron Fist.

“We’re living in a fairly dangerous world right now,” said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer, “but exercises like Iron Fist, help make our world a safer place.”

This year’s exercise has marked the 13th iteration of two nation’s efforts to strengthen and enhance their military partnership, as well as giving their service members the opportunity to experience different training tactics and cultures.

“The interoperability and friendships that have been developed between the U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force have been exceptional,” said Fridriksson.

From planning amphibious operations to coordinating air support missions, Soldiers with the JGSDF have taken the lead role of Iron Fist 2018.

“This Iron Fist exercise is much more important to us because the adapting comprehensive training with a combined armed force will help with establishing the ARDB,” said Maj. Gen. Shinichi Aoki, the deputy chief of staff of administration, Western Army Infantry Regiment. “The brigade will have the responsibility of protecting the southern islands of Japan that do not have units established to them.”

This year’s focus was to assist and prepare the JGSDF with planning and executing amphibious operations in order for them to establish an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.

Japanese Soldiers were able to fully comprehend the planning and executing of an amphibious operation, as well as other planning such as reconnaissance, artillery support and infantry operations.

Col. Toyota said in his closing remarks, he is confident of the introduction of the new unit. “I am certain that with the training and support of the U.S. Marines, we are ready to launch the ARDB.”

The amphibious brigade will stand-up in April of this year.

Marine Corps News

Colonel James W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit