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U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self Defense Force members salute as each nations’ national anthem plays marking the beginning of Forest Light 16-1 at Camp Imazu, Takashima, Japan, Sept. 6, 2015. Forest Light will take place Sept. 7-18 with approximately 240 Marines working next to 350 JGSDF members. The exercise will consist of combined mortar live fire, establishing forward arming and refueling points, combined helicopter borne skills and combined-arms training. The JGSDF members are from 50th Infantry Regiment, 14th Brigade. The Marines are with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Photo by Cpl. Devon Tindle

1st Battalion, 2nd Marines work with JGSDF during Forest Light 16-1

11 Sep 2015 | Cpl. Devon Tindle The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members arrived from different parts of Japan to start Forest Light 16-1 which begins Sept. 6 and concludes on Sept.18, 2015 at Camp Imazu, Takashima, Japan. 

Forest Light is a semi-annual, bilateral exercise consisting of command post exercises and multiple field training events conducted between Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and JGSDF 50th Infantry Regiment, 14th Brigade. 

“Forest Light is designed to increase the interoperability of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force by sharing best practices, developing enduring relationships, and improving the communication between our forces,” said Lt. Col Eric Reid, the commanding officer of 1st Bn., 2nd Marines currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Our goal is to be more prepared to fight together against a common adversary.”

Working as one is one of the main efforts of this exercise, according to Col. Tadisha Tanida, the commanding officer of the 50th Infantry Regiment, 14th Brigade, JGSDF. 

“We need to understand each other,” said Tanida. “Knowing what each other thinks before something comes up will help us with plans to get through situations as one, and that’s why I think exercises like Forest Light are important for both sides.”