Exercise Iron Fist brings US and Japanese forces together

13 Jan 2011 | Capt. Roger Hollenbeck

Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces are scheduled to begin training with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit here Feb. 8.  The exercise begins with an opening ceremony and progresses into different events in each component of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, from small boat operations and aerial inserts to company sized live-fire events.

"Iron Fist reinforces our relationship with the Japanese, and provides a unique training experience that our Marines and sailors will never forget," said Col. Michael R. Hudson, commanding officer of the 11th MEU. "This is an excellent opportunity to share our expeditionary knowledge with a strategic partner across the world."

During the exercise, troops from both countries will board USS Makin Island and USS Dubuque to practice ship-to-shore movements, control naval gunfire and practice command and control afloat.

"Training with our Japanese and Navy counterparts is an all around win," said Hudson.  "As the MEU prepares for a deployment next fall, we want to capitalize on every opportunity to integrate with and learn from our regional partners and our friends on the waterfront."

The Japanese GSDF unit participating in the training is the Western Infantry Regiment.  The 11th MEU will command elements of 1st Tank Battalion from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., and Combat Logistics Battalion 11 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 both based out of Camp Pendleton.

This is the fifth iteration of the Marine Forces Pacific directed exercise which has been conducted annually in Southern California since 2006. Similar exercises have brought US and Japanese forces together in Guam, Hawaii and Japan.

For more information, contact the 11th MEU public affairs officer, Capt. Roger Hollenbeck, at 760-846-4947, roger.hollenbeck@usmc.mil, or visit the MEU at www.11thmeu.usmc.mil or twitter.com/11thmeu.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit