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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
Marines, Japanese train for trouble

By Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers | | January 31, 2012

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Marines and Japanese soldiers conducted helo-dunking egress training, simulated casualty drills and abandon ship techniques from a 10-meter platform during Exercise Iron Fist 2012, at the Camp Horno pool, Jan 28. Iron Fist is a bi-lateral training exercise between the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force.

Both nations were preparing for the helocasting exercises the following week, which trains service members to jump from a helicopter into a body of water.

The helicopter-dunker egress trainer simulates a helicopter crashing into a body of water. Using the trainer, and aided by Marines, the Japanese learned how to safely exit a submerged helicopter. The helicopter-dunker spun underwater to disorient the soldiers before they unbuckled and swam out the helicopter’s exits.

During the simulated casualty drills, teams of two jumped from a tower into the pool. One partner was the designated casualty, and the other was responsible to inflate their partner’s life jacket and swim him to safety.

This was followed by a drill in which the soldiers jumped from a 10-meter platform to familiarize the Japanese with abandon ship techniques.

“The whole idea is we’re building interoperability,” said Capt. Daniel J. Davis, commanding officer, Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. “We’re able to work side-by-side with the Japanese and carry out the mission.”

This exercise was among many scheduled events where U.S. forces conduct training alongside the JGSDF. Exercise Iron Fist 2012 is the seventh iteration of this exercise that allows the 15th MEU to train with an important Pacific ally.

“I think the bilateral training is good,” said Master Sgt. Joshua J. Lind, operations chief, A Co., 1st Recon. Bn., 1st MARDIV. “We get to see the abilities of other armed forces that we hold a friendship with, and they get to see how the Marines do things.”

The 15th MEU is currently training for a deployment later this fall.


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