NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. --
Marines with the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific and soldiers with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment brave the waves during combat rubber raiding craft training here Feb. 10.
The Marines and soldiers are participating in Exercise Iron Fist, a bilateral training exercise designed to strengthen the bond between U.S. and Japanese militaries.
"It's important to allow the Japanese to see how we conduct our training and prepare for future operations," said Capt. Timothy J. Storey, assistant officer-in-charge of the CRRC course. "I hope they can take this type of training back to Japan and enhance their own operations."
Throughout the day, scout swimmer soldiers braved chilly waters practicing buddy rushes toward the sandy shore in order to secure the beach, while the ranger platoon, with the WAIR, performed CRRC drills.
Clothed in wet suits, the men loaded their boats and launched into the surf, before dropping the engine and cutting through the choppy waves. After several successful runs, the soldiers exchanged the engines for paddles to get them through the frothy Coronado whitewash.
"They'll be able to implement current tactics, techniques and procedures so they can have a more productive expeditionary force," Storey said.
Training with the Marines on a larger scale and bigger waves has been very helpful and a lot of fun, according to Master Sgt. Ueda Ryuichi, a scout swimmer squad leader with the JGSDF, WAIR.
"The Japanese soldiers were very professional," said Col. Michael R. Hudson, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer. "It was a great opportunity to train with Col. Akira Kurosawa's professional warriors."
Kurosawa, the JGSDF, WAIR commanding officer, and 180 soldiers arrived to participate in various training events during the month-long training period.
As the bilateral training continues U.S. and Japanese troops will participate in additional beach security and live fire ranges. According to Hudson, working together is beneficial for both the 11th MEU and the WAIR to increase military interoperability.