28

Jan

2016

Iron Fist 2016: Marines train with Amphibious Assault Vehicle Gunner Simulator

By Lance Cpl. Timothy Valero, I Marine Expeditionary Force


A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment looks out from the driver’s seat of an amphibious assault vehicle onto a simulated battlefield during training during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise designed to improve U.S. Marine Corps and JGSDF’s ability to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations. The exercise provides valuable training to warriors from different cultures, and the opportunity to build camaraderie between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.
Iron Fist 2016: Amphibious Assault Vehicle Gunner Simulator
A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment looks out from the driver’s seat of an amphibious assault vehicle onto a simulated battlefield during training during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise designed to improve U.S. Marine Corps and JGSDF’s ability to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations. The exercise provides valuable training to warriors from different cultures, and the opportunity to build camaraderie between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, battalion master gunner, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and simulator operator, monitors a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier’s performance alongside JGSDF Master Sgt. Fukase from the Western Army Infantry Regiment during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise that enables JGSDF soldiers and U.S. Marines to conduct combined amphibious operations. This year’s evolution will culminate with a scenario-based amphibious assault launching from the USS Somerset in late February.
Iron Fist 2016: Amphibious Assault Vehicle Gunner Simulator
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, battalion master gunner, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and simulator operator, monitors a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier’s performance alongside JGSDF Master Sgt. Fukase from the Western Army Infantry Regiment during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise that enables JGSDF soldiers and U.S. Marines to conduct combined amphibious operations. This year’s evolution will culminate with a scenario-based amphibious assault launching from the USS Somerset in late February.
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Cpl. Ishida, with the Western Army Infantry Regiment, looks out from the gun turret onto a simulated desert after successfully engaging targets during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. The amphibious assault vehicle simulator offers the unique ability to train hands-on with the controls without requiring the resources needed to conduct training in the field. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious assault exercise focused on strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF.
Iron Fist 2016: Amphibious Assault Vehicle Gunner Simulator
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Cpl. Ishida, with the Western Army Infantry Regiment, looks out from the gun turret onto a simulated desert after successfully engaging targets during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26. The amphibious assault vehicle simulator offers the unique ability to train hands-on with the controls without requiring the resources needed to conduct training in the field. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious assault exercise focused on strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF.
Corporal Ishida of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment scans the simulated battlefield for targets as U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, battalion master gunner, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and simulator operator, and JGSDF Master Sgt. Fukase monitor the amphibious assault crew’s performance during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 26. This annual, bilateral exercise offers the opportunity for the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers to work hand-in-hand as they train and prepare for an amphibious assault being conducted on the shores of Camp Pendleton in late February.
Iron Fist 2016: Amphibious Assault Vehicle Gunner Simulator
Corporal Ishida of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment scans the simulated battlefield for targets as U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, battalion master gunner, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and simulator operator, and JGSDF Master Sgt. Fukase monitor the amphibious assault crew’s performance during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 26. This annual, bilateral exercise offers the opportunity for the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers to work hand-in-hand as they train and prepare for an amphibious assault being conducted on the shores of Camp Pendleton in late February.
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California -- As the cross-hairs of the scope landed on target, Cpl. Ishida, from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment, squeezed the trigger of the .50-caliber machine gun. The tremor from each round firing traveled up his arms and into his body as he kept the machine gun on his target. Smoke from the machine gun floated past and machine gun fire filled the room. He stood up in the machine gun turret smiling as he turned to his fellow soldiers, who stood watching from behind.

United States Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, the battalion master gunner for 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and simulator operator, worked alongside JGSDF Master Sergeant Fukase to arrange scenario challenges and place targets for the next JGSDF soldier to overcome in the amphibious assault gunner simulator during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 26.

Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise designed to improve the Marine Corps and JGSDF’s ability to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations, and also conduct bilateral training in advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire-and-maneuver assaults, staff planning, logistical support, medical knowledge sharing and fire support operations.

Similar to the Marines, JGSDF soldiers began their hands-on training in a simulator, which tests the amphibious assault crew’s skills working together to overcome various challenges such as engaging moving and stationary targets at unknown distances. The simulator also offers the ability to control variables, such as weather conditions, the amount of ammunition and weapon system failures. 

“The simulator allows us to develop any scenario for the [JGSDF] soldiers, teaching them the individual, crew and section leader levels,” said Casey. “It is important for the crew of an amphibious vehicle be able to quickly identify a target, know their weapons capabilities and execute engagements with their weapon systems effectively.”

As the JGSDF develops their Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, Japan wishes to continue combined amphibious training for their ground self-defense forces. Exercises like Iron Fist help play a key role in the advancement of Japan’s amphibious capabilities.

“Working with the simulators gives the [JGSDF] soldiers the chance to begin to experiment and learn from different scenarios,” said 1st Lt Michael Ragonese, platoon commander, for 1st Platoon, Bravo Co., 3rd Amphibian Assault Battalion. “The simulator offers that hands-on appreciation for the capabilities and limitations of the amphibious vehicle.”  

Since 2006, exercise Iron Fist has offered Marines and JGSDF soldiers the unique opportunity to train and work side-by-side on U.S. soil.  

The knowledge shared during exercise Iron Fist will effectively increase the cohesion between the U.S. Marines and the JGSDF soldiers during an amphibious operation, said Ragonese.