MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines from 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force began training for Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 23, 2014.
Iron Fist 2014 is an amphibious exercise that brings together Marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, other I Marine Expeditionary Force units, and soldiers from the JGSDF, to promote military interoperability and hone individual and small-unit skills through challenging, complex and realistic training.
“We’re out here working with the Japanese to improve their fire support capabilities,” said Capt. Clayton Nygard, team leader, firepower control team 4, 1st ANGLICO. “What we’re doing, essentially, is training their [forward operating] teams tactics, techniques and procedures in order to employ surface and air support.”
The soldiers working with 1st ANGLICO have similar jobs to the Marines they are working with.
“Essentially, this is their job, period,” Nygard said. “They’re just refining their skills based on the doctrine we already have in place and seeing if they can apply that to what they do at home.”
ANGLICO is using the ‘crawl-walk-run’ method when it comes to training with the JGSDF. The first few days of training consisted of classes and using the Deployable Virtual Training Environment.
“The DVTE is basically the simulator that we use for artillery, mortars, naval guns and close air support in a classroom setting,” Nygard said.
The instructors paint a scenario and show the soldier or Marine where the targets are in the simulator. Nygard explained that someone plots what he thinks is the target location on his map, generates the data for call-for-fire, and requests the fire mission through the artillery unit. The scenario then plays through the effects of the mission based on that request.
Soldiers from the JGSDF caught on quickly, doing all of their radio calls in English.
“They all understood the concept,” said Cpl. Luke Nyenhuis, fire support man, 1st ANGLICO. “They knew how to do it. Maybe not precisely how 1st ANGLICO does it, but really close.”
The JGSDF will continue to work and refine their skills with 1st ANGLICO throughout Exercise Iron Fist.