By Lance Cpl. Josue Marquez, 3rd Marine Division
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, JAPAN --
Okinawa-based Marines and North Carolina-based Soldiers rehearsed a simulated fire support exercise at the III Marine Expeditionary Force Combined Arms Staff Trainer building on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 8-19, 2018.
Service members with 12th Marine Regiment and 82nd Airborne Division conducted amphibious joint-service operations and worked together to complete several mission essential tasks in a complex simulated environment.
Throughout the scenario, collaboration between Marines and Soldiers played an important role in the success of the exercise.
“It’s a great line of communication,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Jaeder Monteiro, a fire support chief with Headquarters Company, 12th Marine Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. “We’re all here to train and to do things the correct way, and everyone has been open-minded.”
During their first week on Camp Hansen, Marines worked with Soldiers to set up computers and test communications. Fire support members worked through communications architecture and command relationships vital to their mission.
Training objectives included joint integration of fires, conducting combined operations in a joint environment and working through complex problem sets which each unit experienced around the globe.
According to service members, having both branches physically work side by side was an important and helpful experience that made them feel more prepared to operate together.
“It’s important for the Army and the Marine Corps to be working together because we are the solution for the ground-combat problem,” said Army Sgt. Michael Davis, a fire support sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division. “You’re not going to see the other branches maneuvering on the ground the same way that the Marine Corps and the Army operate.”
Upon completion of the simulation, service members discussed issues that they had during the simulation to improve future exercises.