By Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego, III Marine Expeditionary Force
IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JAPAN -- Members with the Hiroshima and Yamaguchi Prefectural Police Headquarters traveled to Iwakuni to observe the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Special Reaction Team conduct high-risk training scenarios at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, March 28, 2017.
Teaming with the two police headquarters offered an opportunity for all parties included to better comprehend the use of tactics in detaining high-profile suspects, suicide prevention and hostage scenarios.
Prior to conducting hands-on training, Marines with the Provost Marshal’s Office held an informative brief on tactics. The brief covered step-by-step details on each situation and displayed weapons and gear used by SRT.
“The training was really helpful,” said Koichi Ueshin, Hiroshima Prefectural Police Headquarters Criminal Investigation Department First Investigation Division chief. “The briefing was very informative and actual training was different from what we do here in Japan. Even the equipment was very different, and I’d like to do research on that.”
Ranging from room-clearing, breaching, communication and non-lethal take down techniques, the Marines thoroughly displayed how to properly assess each situation with minimal risk.
“It’s important for our counterparts to visit the air station and gain insight on what we do here,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ryan Ashe, an SRT breacher.
Ashe said whenever the chance arises to train with the host nation they get to see what each other has to offer. He also said there’s a lot to learn from one another and it builds confidence in the capabilities of those involved.
“It allows them to discover things we do differently and adapt to a different training style,” said Ashe. “Styles such as using rifles and non-lethal tasers when breaching, opposed to just handguns.”
Breaking down every scenario and giving in-depth instructions allowed the Japanese to evaluate and grasp the concepts of why specific tactics are used on a case-by-case basis.
“We are very inexperienced in a lot of stuff,” said Ueshin. “The training has given us a new perspective to draw experience from and strengthen our team force.”
Ueshin said he expresses his most sincere appreciation to PMO who dedicated an abundance of time putting the training together, and he will continue supporting U.S.-Japan relations.
Training between the air station and Japanese has been a milestone that the Marines have strived to meet. Continuing joint training in support of the U.S.-Japan alliance allows the growth of friendships and professionalism.
Ashe said it was a great training environment, and safety was paramount throughout the whole evolution. He felt that being able to go hands on allowed the Marines to show the Japanese how effective the techniques are.
“The most important thing to take away from the training was that you have to keep an open mind,” said Ashe. “Reach out to those resources you have to cross train and increase your knowledge every day.”