Photo Information

Sgt. Tayler Jerome, team leader with Alpha Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, explains how the Marines applied the natural look of their surroundings to their camouflage to blend in during a squad formations and tactics class here Feb. 14-15. The Marines are participating in Exercise Iron Fist, a bilateral exercise focusing on improving amphibious capabilities and interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.

Photo by Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

U.S., Japan share reconnaissance tactics

15 Feb 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines, with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and Japanese soldiers, with the Western Army Infantry Regiment intelligence platoon, exchange knowledge on basic squad formations and camouflage tactics to enhance interoperability between the two services during Exercise Iron Fist here Feb. 14-15.

With Iron Fist moving into its second week of training, both services continue to gain knowledge from each other throughout multiple training evolutions such as the Infantry Immersion Trainer and combat rubber raiding craft training.

"In Japan, we haven't been to a real battle for 50 to 60 years," said 1st Lt. Kazuhisa Yoshio, platoon leader with the WAIR intelligence platoon.  "We can gain experience from training with the Marines."

During this two-day evolution, both services became familiar with each other's style of training.

On day one, the classes included patrols and tactical formations, while day two consisted of different types camouflage techniques.

The Marines demonstrated their fire team tactics and then observed the Japanese team perform. When the demonstrations were complete, both services integrated personnel to work as one, learning each other's methods of movement.

"I think this is really good for interoperability," said Sgt. Brian O'Donnell, assistant team leader Alpha Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. "If we are ever in war side by side, each unit is compatible." 

The basics of the class were easily adaptable for the Japanese soldiers because tactics on both sides are very similar.

"Most of their tactics, techniques and procedures are the same as ours," said O'Donnell. "That allowed a smoother transition between the two of us and allowed us to see what each other can do."

The reconnaissance training is just one portion of the exercise, which will be put to the test during a culminating event at the end of Iron Fist.

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