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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit


15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
Marines, Japanese conduct training on San Clemente Island

By Cpl. John Robbart III | | February 15, 2012

Close air support, artillery and Naval gun fire all came in to play as a fire power control team from 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and forward observers with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force trained on San Clemente Island, Feb. 12.

The exercise included 81 and 120mm mortars, fixed and rotary wing assets and Naval gun fire.  In addition to the gunfire exercise, the Japanese also practiced calling for fire.

“The training we are conducting today enhances the Japanese’s skills set to defend coastal areas from an amphibious invasion,” said Capt. Michael A. Perkins, joint terminal attack controller, 1st ANGLICO. “The shore bombardment area of San Clemente Island replicates possible landing sites in Japan and gives an example of how they can thwart an attack from the sea.”

Prior to arriving on San Clemente Island, the JGSDF soldiers trained with 1st ANGLICO to learn how to put together a 9-line and a 5-line, which are detailed plans written by the joint terminal attack controller.  The plans are relayed to the pilots telling them the coordinates and level of ordnance that should be used on specific targets.

“We are continuing to allow them to integrate with U.S. air power, sea power and indirect fire assets,” said Perkins.

After observing the Marines calling for fire and much rehearsal themselves, the Japanese forward observers called for fire with assistance from the Marine fire power control team.

“They did well,” said Cpl. Robert T. Ruiz, fire support man, 1st ANGLICO. “Getting through the language barrier was tough, but they are a very capable force,” added the 24-year-old native of San Bernadino, Calif.

The main focus of the exercise was close air support, which was made possible with AV-8B Harrier jets, AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters, and of course, the Marines on the ground.

The evolution was part of the culminating event of Exercise Iron Fist 2012, which involved a ship-to-shore movement from the USS Peleliu to San Clemente Island.

The 15th MEU is currently training for a deployment scheduled for this summer.