4

Feb

2016

Japanese soldiers break contact, engage U.S. Marines

By Lance Cpl. Timothy Valero, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit


Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper Program move out on a patrol through an area with mock enemies to practice breaking contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by U.S. Marine Corps instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016 Break contact drills are important as sniper teams are typically small, with limited firepower and ammunition. During break contact drills, the team moves to a location where the enemy cannot observe and fire upon them.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marinesxercise Iron Fist 2016: Combat Rubber Raid Craft Training
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper Program move out on a patrol through an area with mock enemies to practice breaking contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by U.S. Marine Corps instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016 Break contact drills are important as sniper teams are typically small, with limited firepower and ammunition. During break contact drills, the team moves to a location where the enemy cannot observe and fire upon them.
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program get on line with each other to provide cover-fire during a walk-through of a break contact drill during an abbreviated scout sniper course instructed by Marine Corps scout sniper instructors during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise focused on the strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF. Small scout sniper teams can be used prior to an amphibious assault to gather reconnaissance and eliminate key targets.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program get on line with each other to provide cover-fire during a walk-through of a break contact drill during an abbreviated scout sniper course instructed by Marine Corps scout sniper instructors during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious training exercise focused on the strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF. Small scout sniper teams can be used prior to an amphibious assault to gather reconnaissance and eliminate key targets.
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, discusses the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program with Sgt. First Class Kusumato at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. The two talked about different techniques and methods used to conduct tactical and speed ammunition reloads during an abbreviated scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016.The abbreviated scout sniper course gave the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the Marine Corps and JGSDF.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, discusses the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program with Sgt. First Class Kusumato at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. The two talked about different techniques and methods used to conduct tactical and speed ammunition reloads during an abbreviated scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016.The abbreviated scout sniper course gave the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the Marine Corps and JGSDF.
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, scout sniper instructor, 1st Marine Division Schools, assists a soldier of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program with proper pistol grip during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps scout sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. 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. Operating in small teams, scout snipers can be used to conduct reconnaissance and eliminate targets prior to an amphibious assault.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, scout sniper instructor, 1st Marine Division Schools, assists a soldier of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program with proper pistol grip during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps scout sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. 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. Operating in small teams, scout snipers can be used to conduct reconnaissance and eliminate targets prior to an amphibious assault.
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, tries on a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment soldier’s flak jacket during a scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords the Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge while increasing camaraderie between the U.S. Marine Corps and JGSDF.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
United States Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, tries on a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment soldier’s flak jacket during a scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords the Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge while increasing camaraderie between the U.S. Marine Corps and JGSDF.
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program assist a fellow soldier as he tries on a U.S. Marine Corps flak jacket during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps Scout Sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge as they train alongside each other.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program assist a fellow soldier as he tries on a U.S. Marine Corps flak jacket during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps Scout Sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge as they train alongside each other.
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program sprint to a new position while conducting break contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious assault exercise focused on the strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF. Small scout sniper teams can be used prior to an amphibious assault to conduct reconnaissance and eliminate key targets.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program sprint to a new position while conducting break contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course at Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral amphibious assault exercise focused on the strengthening of amphibious operations between the U.S. Marine Corps and the JGSDF. Small scout sniper teams can be used prior to an amphibious assault to conduct reconnaissance and eliminate key targets.
A soldier of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program takes notes as U. S. Marine Corps scout sniper instructors review the team’s performance in the break contact evolution of an abbreviated scout sniper course held during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords the Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the two organizations.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
A soldier of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment’s Scout Sniper program takes notes as U. S. Marine Corps scout sniper instructors review the team’s performance in the break contact evolution of an abbreviated scout sniper course held during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. Iron Fist affords the Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the two organizations.
Sergeant 1st Class Yusuke Irie of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment watches as U. S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, gets a hands-on review of the JGSDF weapons during an abbreviated scout sniper course held during Exercise Iron Fist 2016, on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. The course offers the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the Marine Corps and JGSDF in a bilateral training environment.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
Sergeant 1st Class Yusuke Irie of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment watches as U. S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a scout sniper instructor with 1st Marine Division Schools, gets a hands-on review of the JGSDF weapons during an abbreviated scout sniper course held during Exercise Iron Fist 2016, on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. The course offers the U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge and increase camaraderie between the Marine Corps and JGSDF in a bilateral training environment.
Sergeant 1st Class Takashi Kuriyama of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper Program leads fellow soldiers on patrol while conducting break contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps Scout Sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. During break contact drills the team moves to a location where the enemy cannot observe and fire upon them as they typically operate in small teams with limited firepower and ammunition.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016: Japanese Soldiers break contact, engage US Marines
Sergeant 1st Class Takashi Kuriyama of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper Program leads fellow soldiers on patrol while conducting break contact drills during an abbreviated scout sniper course, instructed by Marine Corps Scout Sniper instructors, during Exercise Iron Fist on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1, 2016. During break contact drills the team moves to a location where the enemy cannot observe and fire upon them as they typically operate in small teams with limited firepower and ammunition.
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDELTON, Calif -- Over the roar of the wind, a voice yelled “contact front!” Without hesitation, Sgt. First Class Yusuke Irie of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment Scout Sniper program sprinted to get on line and provide firepower. Surrounded by the sounds of gun fire and yelling, the soldiers alternate seamlessly between providing cover fire and bounding backward. Once out of sight and safe from enemy fire, United States Marine Sgt. Mason Wilhelmy, a pre-scout sniper instructor, 1st Marine Division School’s Pre-Scout Sniper Course, called out “cease fire, cease fire” and signals the soldiers to gather around him.

The soldiers of the JGSDF conduct break contact maneuvers in addition to reviewing other essential skills in a condensed scout sniper course instructed by Marines from 1st Marine Division Schools during Exercise Iron Fist 2016 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 1.

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.

Conducting a break contact maneuver properly is a vital skill for a scout sniper unit as they operate with fewer members limiting the available firepower and resources. During a break contact maneuver, the unit members alternate between providing cover fire and moving toward a location where the unit cannot be observed by the enemy and fired upon. 

“A break contact maneuver it similar to fire-and-maneuver, since we [scout snipers] operate in a small unit, instead of advancing toward the enemy we are bounding backward tactically, to break contact with the enemy.” said Sgt. Robert Murphy, pre-scout sniper instructor, 1st Marine Division School’s Pre-Scout Sniper Course.

The course held for the JGSDF scout snipers during Iron Fist is a condensed version of the course Marines participate in when becoming a scout sniper. 

Throughout the course, the JGSDF soldiers review subjects of marksmanship, weapon manipulation, communication, camouflage and break contact maneuvers. 

“This training will help increase their [JGSDF soldiers] ability as a unit to not only be effective but to communicate with one-another as they maneuver,” said Murphy. 

A scout sniper unit’s role in an amphibious assault, for instance the assault at the conclusion of Iron Fist in late February, is much different than that of a typical infantry unit. 

By inserting a scout sniper unit before the initial amphibious assault, a unit is capable of gathering and relaying information and eliminating key enemy targets, said Wilhelmy. The units may also be positioned to provide over watch and fire support for friendly forces who are conducting the amphibious assault. 

Since the first Iron Fist in 2006, the scout sniper course has provided the opportunity for the Marine Corps and JGSDF to conduct bilateral training while sharing knowledge and experiences with service members from different cultures. 

“Annual Training like [Iron Fist] is beneficial to continue to not only build a strong relationship between the U.S. and Japan, but to also enhance each other’s operational abilities,” said Murphy

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