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January

2014

Marines train JGSDF in helo cast, amphibious insertions

Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos


Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force practice amphibious landing techniques while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force practice amphibious landing techniques while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force load and fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force load and fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force jumps out of a CH-46E Sea Knight while conducting Helo Cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force jumps out of a CH-46E Sea Knight while conducting Helo Cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way onto Seal Beach while conducting Helo Cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way onto Seal Beach while conducting Helo Cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way to a CH-46E Sea Knight while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way to a CH-46E Sea Knight while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A U.S. Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine division, gives the all clear sign after soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force helo cast out of a CH-46E Sea Knight during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A U.S. Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine division, gives the all clear sign after soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force helo cast out of a CH-46E Sea Knight during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way to Seal Beach on a combat rubber reconnaissance craft while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force make their way to Seal Beach on a combat rubber reconnaissance craft while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducts helo cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 23, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A soldier with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducts helo cast training with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 23, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force practice rigging rope on a combat rubber reconnaissance craft while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force practice rigging rope on a combat rubber reconnaissance craft while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

U.S. Marines with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrate how to execute an amphibious insertion using a combat rubber reconnaissance craft to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

U.S. Marines with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrate how to execute an amphibious insertion using a combat rubber reconnaissance craft to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

U.S. Marine Sgt. David Johnson, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrates how to fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

U.S. Marine Sgt. David Johnson, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrates how to fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force examine how to properly load and fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force examine how to properly load and fasten a combat rubber reconnaissance craft using the “Soft Duck” method while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A U.S. Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrates the 10 minute warning signal to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

A U.S. Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, demonstrates the 10 minute warning signal to soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force while conducting Helo Cast training during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24, 2014. Iron Fist 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. --

“One minute!” shouted Staff Sgt. Thomas Maloney, systems platoon sergeant, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division.

Gear in hand, soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force unbuckled, stood up and shuffled to the rear of the aircraft. 

“30 seconds!” Maloney shouted over the deafening roar of the rotary blades cutting through the air.

As the final seconds counted down, the CH-46E Sea Knight aircraft maneuvered into its final position, hovering within seven feet of the surface of the water.

“Go! Go! Go!” Maloney shouted.

Instantly, the Japanese soldiers pushed out the combat rubber reconnaissance craft and jumped out after it.

This was the scene as soldiers with the JGSDF conducted helo cast training with 1st Recon. Bn. during Exercise Iron Fist 2014 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 27, 2014.

“Hitting the cold water at that height and speed is a shock on the senses,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mickey Eaton, assistant operations chief, 1st Recon. Bn. “This training makes it so when we have to do it in real operations, we know what to experience and how to react.”

The exercise capped three days of training that included adjusting their bodies to the impact of water by jumping into pools with and without gear, as well as swimming with their wet packs weighing up to 100 pounds.

The Marines also trained the Japanese soldiers in rigging and loading a CRRC, commonly referred to as a Zodiac, using the “Soft Duck” method. This is done by partially deflating the watercraft to fit into a CH-46E aircraft.

“Helo casting with a Zodiac can be very dangerous,” said Sgt. David Johnson, 1st Recon. Bn. “If you don’t exit the aircraft correctly, you can actually land inside the Zodiac and potentially get, hurt taking you out of the mission.”

The training also incorporated amphibious insertions to an objective within Coronado after helo casting into the bay.

“This is the bread and butter of the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Guy Higgins, 1st Recon Bn. “This is a great opportunity for the [JGSDF] to learn from us, and take this training back with them and tailor it to their needs.”

The helo cast training is meant to prepare the Marines and soldiers for part of a weeklong event that includes an amphibious insertion followed by reconnaissance missions.

Correspondent: emmanuel.ramos1@usmc.mil