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An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Thursday.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Thursday. (J.J. Arneson / U.S. Marine Corps)
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Thursday.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Thursday. (J.J. Arneson / U.S. Marine Corps)
A Marine trained in explosive ordnance disposal controls a remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise.
A Marine trained in explosive ordnance disposal controls a remote ordnance neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise. (J.J. Arneson / U.S. Marine Corps)
A military working dog is used to sniff out a bomb during the Active Shield exercise.
A military working dog is used to sniff out a bomb during the Active Shield exercise. (J.J. Arneson / U.S. Marine Corps)
An Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnace neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise.
An Marine repairs an explosive attached to the remote ordnace neutralization system during the Active Shield exercise. (J.J. Arneson / U.S. Marine Corps)

U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force commanders expressed satisfaction with the Active Shield exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, during the closing ceremony Friday afternoon.

The 16th Active Shield exercise, which began Tuesday, included threat scenarios designed to improve communication and coordinated responses among commanders and troops. The exercise was part of a series of guard and protection training events involving U.S. and JSDF servicemembers dating to November 2003.

“During the exercise, the United States and Japanese bond in our alliance strengthened, but there are always lessons to be learned,” Col. Michael A. Dyer, Iwakuni base commander, said at the ceremony. His closing-ceremony speech didn’t discuss specifics, but he added: “Because of what we accomplished this year, there will be an increased level of efficiency in the future.”

At a news conference after the ceremony, Dyer said: “This year we established a common operational picture that was translated down to the Marines and soldiers at ground level.”

“We attempted to redefine our common architecture” while improving communication skills, he added.

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force participants included about 100 personnel from the 46th Infantry Regiment at Camp Kaitaichi, and about 90 U.S. Marines from Iwakuni took part, said base spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton.

“We worked seamlessly to integrate the Japanese into our response team” when dealing with scenarios, Dyer said at the news conference. Those included threats onboard ships, vehicle threats, explosive devices and multiple hostage situations, he said.

“I am very pleased with the cooperation we experienced with U.S. forces,” Col. Sadayoshi Tenkumo, JGSDF 46th Infantry Regiment commander, said at the ceremony. “We all learned very much from this exercise. The bond is strengthened between the U.S. and Japan.”

The exercise has become an annual training event and was the third Active Shield held at Iwakuni, Upton said.

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