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Marines and Japanese soldiers team up to train across Southern California

Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division and Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Force stand in formation as part of the Exercise Iron Fist 2018 opening ceremony on Jan. 12.

JACOB A. FARBO/U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE | The Orange County Register (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 13, 2018

CAMP PENDLETON — Marines and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit will join soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force over the next five weeks, storming beaches and training across bases in Southern California.

On Friday, Jan. 12 commanding generals participated in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton to launch Iron fist 2018, an exercise that builds on longstanding military ties between the two countries.

Iron Fist 2018 is the final joint exercise before the Japanese are scheduled to establish the country’s first Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade in March.

“It is essential that U.S. Marines and sailors maintain our strong working relationships with our Japanese military partners and continue building our mutual understanding of each other’s amphibious capabilities,” said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, commanding officer, 11th MEU.

Training will focus on advanced marksmanship; amphibious reconnaissance; fire and maneuver assaults; staff planning, logistical support and medical knowledge sharing; fire support operations, including mortars, artillery, and close air support; and amphibious landing operations.

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Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Soldiers with Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Force stand in formation as part of the Exercise Iron Fist 2018 opening ceremony on Jan. 12.
KYLE MCNAN/U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO

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