Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison, Commanding General, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), addresses Marines and Sailors at the rehearsal of concept brief for Yama Sakura 81 on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan Dec. 4, 2021. Yama Sakura is the largest joint and bilateral command post exercise conducted by U.S. Army Pacific and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force designed to increase joint force lethality, enhance design and posture, and strengthen alliances and partnerships (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Andrew Ochoa).

Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa

3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade begin annual command post exercise Yama Sakura 81 in Japan

7 Dec 2021 | Lt. Col. Caleb Eames The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade are taking part in Yama Sakura 81, an annual command post exercise, Dec. 7 to Dec. 13 at Camp Courtney, Okinawa and Camp Ainoura, Nagasaki, Japan. The 3rd MEB’s and ARDB’s portion of the exercise is part of the largest command post exercise held between the U.S. Army and the JGSDF called Yama Sakura 81.

Beginning in 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the defense of Japan with bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability between JGSDF and U.S. military units, including 3rd MEB and I Corps. This exercise highlights the continued commitment by both the United States and Japan to enhance American and Japanese combat readiness and integration while strengthening bilateral relationships.

“Yama Sakura helps the 3rd MEB and ARDB be more resilient and ready together. It is clear that we are stronger and more effective when we compete as a team." Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison, 3rd MEB Commanding General

"This command post exercise makes us more capable and more lethal. Although our daily objective is to prevent conflict, our adversaries should not take that to mean we will not be prepared for conflict. We will be ready and resilient together.” said Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison, 3rd MEB Commanding General. “Fighting and planning beside each other makes us better. Marines and our ARDB counterparts are united in our commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The U.S.-Japan Alliance has served as a foundation for regional peace and security for more than 70 years allowing the United States and Japan to forge a relationship built on a shared vision of peace, prosperity, democracy and regional stability. Yama Sakura 81 is essential to maintaining peace and security in Japan and the Indo-Pacific region. Our two forces support a free and open Indo-Pacific united by shared values, interests, and commitment to mutual security.

The 3rd MEB, III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Fire Brigade, provides a forward-deployed command and control element that can rapidly react to counter aggression against Japan and other allies and partners as well as respond to crisis in the region.

The ARDB deployed to work with 3rd MEB on Camp Courtney, in Okinawa, Japan in 2019 and 2020 for previous Yama Sakura exercises, and is working with them again during YS 81.